Assess and document professional learning's impact

By Denise Glyn Borders
December 2019
Vol. 40, No. 6
As I write this, we’re all digesting the latest National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) results, and they are a disappointment. An assessment of 4th- and 8th-grade reading and mathematics across the U.S., NAEP is administered biannually. Since 2017, most states have seen declines in students’ reading performance and a mixed picture in math, with 4th graders showing a slight increase and 8th graders a slight decrease. Perhaps most troubling, the lowest-achieving students showed the largest declines in performance. Although patterns vary by state, only one — Mississippi — gained ground at the 4th-grade level and only Washington, D.C., improved at the 8th-grade level (NAEP, 2019). It is notable that Mississippi State Superintendent Carey Wright attributed that state’s growth to a sharp focus on literacy,

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Denise Glyn Borders

 Denise Glyn Borders is president/CEO of Learning Forward. 



Jacobson, L. (2019, October 30). NAEP 2019: Reading scores drop for U.S. students, with mixed math results. Education Dive. Available at

Jacobson, L. (2019, October 30). NAEP 2019: Reading scores drop for U.S. students, with mixed math results. Education Dive. Available at

New Teacher Center. (2019, October). Counting the cost: A commitment to educational equity that yields returns. Santa Cruz, CA: Author. 

OECD. (2019). TALIS 2018 results (Volume 1): Teachers and school leaders as lifelong learners. Available at 

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Learning Forward President and CEO Denise Glyn Borders served as president of SRI Education, a division at SRI International, where she led three centers – Learning and Development, Technology and Learning, and Education Policy. Previously, Borders was senior vice president and director of the U.S. Education and Workforce Development Group at FHI 360, a global human development organization with an evidence-based research approach.

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