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From Planning to Data Collection: Connecting Professional Development to Student Success: Are We Making a Difference?

From Planning to Data Collection: Connecting Professional Development to Student Success: Are We Making a Difference?

Lead Data Team Seminar 27

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.

  • planned the next steps for their action research and completed the Action Research Template or the Nutshell and a calendar detailing their process

  • established a data collection plan which includes specific landmarks for the year


The last seminar of the 2017-18 school year introduced the new year’s topic “connecting professional development to student success: are we making a difference?”. 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) & its impact on teachers and students.

In the first of this year’s seminars, the LDT revisits the crucial elements of conducting Action Research, including defining student learning problems, identifying indicators and planning methods for data collection. The two day seminar is task based and involves a variety of activities including individual planning; building knowledge around evaluating professional development (Guskey) and conducting action research (Plan Do Study Act (PDSA) improvement cycles); and sharing knowledge and progress of work.

Instructional design


The EBP facilitator outlines the Learning Outcomes (LO) and the agenda for the first seminar of the year, and welcomes everyone, introducing new participants. This seminar will focus participants on building on the previous planning for their project, and clarifying specific components such as indicators, tools and data to be collected.


Participants take turns around the table to introduce themselves and share their favourite Canadian artist with the group.


Participants are asked to be involved in the evaluation of the EBP project and the LDT team in particular. The plan for the evaluation and revamping of the project is shared with members before they are asked to complete a confidential questionnaire about their involvement in the LDT.


Phase 1: Grouped by birth month, participants are separated into 4 groups and asked to fill in information on a flip chart sheet related to the topic they’ve been given. The four topics for discussion are:

  • Action research methods

  • 5 levels of evaluation

  • Research-based practices

  • PD Models/learning standards

Phase 2: groups are asked to swap places with the group diagonally across from them and add additional remarks to their topic before all of the information is shared with members as a whole group.

Following the activity, the LDT team discuss the feedback from the four flipchart sheets.


Keeping the end in mind: In four groups, participants are given a simulated case to work through. The goal is to figure out the student learning problem and unpack the available data in order to devise a plan, including indicators (measures).

A whole group discussion follows, sharing members’ experiences, knowledge, questions and decision-making processes to formulate a student learning problem.

Participants are asked to apply their learning from the case study to create indicators for their own projects.


participants are asked to note down and hand in one burning question, one take-away from the day, and one would like to in the form of a goal.


Members are welcomed back for day 2 of the seminar and the plan for the day is shared.

Feedback from exit cards is addressed.


Members are given the choice to join one of two groups in order to help them achieve the next step in their Action Research plan.

  • Group 1: Reviewing the Action Research & PDSA process

    • Members attend a short presentation on the action research and improvement cycle process and have a chance to consider their own topics of study and process.

  • Group 2: Feedback for those with a completed AR template & plan

    • Participants with projects already in action and/or a completed template have the opportunity to discuss their plans and receive feedback about their next steps from the team.


Common Formative Assessment transfer of knowledge:  Phase 1: in four small groups (1a&b and 2a&b), participants are asked to focus on one of the case study’s goals. They are given time to discuss the goal and brainstorm their ideas before firming up a plan to be shared with the other groups.

Phase 2: one member each from groups 1a & b swap with each other and one member each from groups 2a & b swap with each other to continue sharing information.

Phase 3: Groups 1a & b come together and groups 2a & b come together to pool their ideas and finalise a plan to be shared with the whole group regarding information needed to move forward with the case.

The  two groups feedback their discussion and plan for the case study, and a whole group discussion takes place.


The EBP facilitator thanks the team for organising the seminar and the participants for their enthusiastic participation in the two days.

Participants will be contacted for follow-up and support by the EBP team over the next couple of months regarding their action research projects and the LDT evaluation.


Participants are asked to complete exit cards, writing one piece of data they plan to collect by the end of October, and one piece of feedback regarding the seminar.