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Building an Action Research Plan: Connecting Professional Development to Student Success: Are We Making a Difference?

Building an Action Research Plan: Connecting Professional Development to Student Success: Are We Making a Difference?

Lead Data Team Seminar 26

Overall learning goal

By the end of the two day seminar, participants will have

  • participated in a community of practice and have both provided and received feedback from their colleagues around action research.

  • acquired new knowledge in the areas of evaluation of PD, action research and standards for professional development.

  • planned the next steps for their action research and completed a template and a calendar detailing their process


Following a year of ‘Taking a Critical Look at Educational Research and Its Applications’, participants, now confident consumers of research, have spent the current year putting their learning into practice. By conducting their own action research project in their respective settings, participants’ new knowledge and skills come to life as they begin to make a stronger connection between professional development (PD) & student success.

The third and final seminar for this year focuses on building a concrete action plan and considering the details of their data collection in order to answer the question of impact of PD on teacher practices and student outcomes. The two day seminar is task based and involves a variety of activities including individual planning, networking, and building knowledge around evaluating professional development (Guskey), action research and standards for professional development. In addition, participants have the opportunity to be involved in consultancy protocols and share problems of practice.

Instructional design


The EBP facilitator outlines the Learning Outcomes (LO) for the third seminar of the year, welcomes participants and highlighting the day’s agenda. The emphasis for this seminar is on building a concrete plan for the research aspect of the project, clarifying the research questions and specific components such as indicators, tools, data to be collected, etc.Participants should have completed as much as they can of their action research template, their calendar for their project and their summary ‘in a nutshell’ plan.


Participants are asked to take a few minutes to note down their expected learning goals, burning questions and what they hope to achieve from the seminar.

Day 1 - Trifold Presentation

Participants spend the first 45 minutes gathering their artefacts, writing out their project titles and adding notes about their plans for assessing teacher practices and student outcomes.

All participants are given time to go around looking at each project’s trifold and leaving comments or questions for that team/person.

Participants are asked to consider their guiding or burning questions for the afternoon sessions when they will take part in the consultancy protocol.

Individual work

Following a brief overview of the consultancy protocol, participants are given time to consider where they are and what the nexts steps are for their project. The focus of their thinking is on clarifying the indicators for their desired outcomes and deciding on data collection tools for each indicator.

Participants are provided with a number of handouts to support them through the planning of their action research. The handouts include a guide to action research, a PDSA cycle guide, the plan to do template and a summary (nutshell) template.

Consultancy Protocol

Participants are introduced to or reminded about the objective and benefits of receiving peer support for a problem of practice using the consultancy protocol. In groups, participants take turns to discuss and receive feedback about a dilemma they are facing with their action research. Each protocol lasts 45 minutes.

Knowledge/Ed Camp networking

Participants spend part of the afternoon choosing between gaining deeper knowledge in topics related to action research, or joining a group to talk about a topic of interest, chosen by participants as part of a community of practice.


The knowledge options include Guskey’s Evaluating Professional Development, action research or standards in professional development.

Day 2 - Consultancy protocols

The remaining participants have the opportunity to bring their problem of practice to the consultancy protocol for two consecutive rounds. The participants are then asked for their feedback regarding the usefulness of the protocol in moving their action research forward.

Knowledge/Ed Camp networking

Participants are offered another opportunity of 1.5 hours to take part in either knowledge acquisition, ed camp networking or individual work on their action research. All participants are expected to have spent some time reviewing Guskey’s book.

Action research plans

The rest of day 2 is spent working on individual planning.  Participants are asked to ensure that they’re calendar of events and the plan to do template are completed and submitted for the end of the day. In order to complete their plans, participants need to detail the data they will collect as well as what measurement tools will be used.


The EBP facilitator thanks the team for organising the seminar and the participants for their enthusiastic participation in the two days. The next seminar will be held after the summer.


Participants are asked to complete exit cards, writing three things. They’re what worked well (www) and even better if (ebi) comments about the seminar, an ‘aha’ moment, and next time...