Gauge Impact With 5 Levels Of Data


By Learning Forward
February 2016
Effective professional learning evaluation requires consideration of five critical stages or levels of information (Guskey, 2000a, 2002a, 2005). These five levels represent an adaptation of an evaluation model developed by Kirkpatrick (1959, 1998) for judging the value of supervisory training programs in business and industry. Kirkpatrick’s model, although widely applied, has seen limited use in education because of inadequate explanatory power. While helpful in addressing a broad range of “what” questions, many find it lacking when it comes to explaining “why” (Alliger & Janak, 1989; Holton, 1996). The five levels in this model are hierarchically arranged, from simple to more complex. With each succeeding level, the process of gathering evaluation data requires more time and resources. And because each level builds on those that come

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Thomas R. Guskey

Thomas R. Guskey is professor of educational psychology in the College of Education at the University of Kentucky. He served on the policy research team of the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future and on the task force to develop the Standards for Staff Development. He was named a fellow in the American Educational Research Association, which also honored him in 2006 for his outstanding contribution relating research to practice.

Thomas R. Guskey is an international expert in evaluation design, analysis, and educational reform. His essay explains why the Data standard for professional learning is an essential foundation for all of the other standards. “Because of its indispensable and fundamental nature,” Guskey writes, “no other standard is more important or more vital to the purpose of the Standards for Professional Learning.”

The full essay explores the meaning of data in the context of professional learning. In this excerpt, Guskey examines the use of data in the systemic evaluation of professional learning.

Professional learning that increases educator effectiveness and results for all students uses a variety of sources and types of student, educator, and system data to plan, assess, and evaluate professional learning.

About the book

guage-impact-with-5-levels-of-impactGuskey, T.R., Roy, P., & von Frank, V. (2014). Reach the highest standard in professional learning: Data. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin. Excerpted with permission.


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Learning Forward is the only professional association devoted exclusively to those who work in educator professional development. We help our members plan, implement, and measure high-quality professional learning so they can achieve success with their systems, schools, and students.

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