Does the benchmark assessment tool show a significant directional correlation between professional development and student achievement : what effect does the level of implementation of PLCs in schools have on student achievement?
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT REQUEST OF AUTHOR.] Educational researchers agree on a few aspects of educational reform. First, in order for reform to happen in schools, professional development (PD) is essential. Educators need additional training once they move into the teaching profession. Secondly, PD should be evaluated to determine its effectiveness. Past forms of PD evaluation included participant reactions immediately after the PD session, survey of knowledge gained by the participants, and implementation levels of program objectives. These past evaluation forms are no longer enough. There is a significant need to evaluate PD using impact data. The bottom line as to whether or not the PD is considered effective is its impact on student achievement. Finally, many researchers agree there is a need to measure the implementation levels of PD formatively throughout its execution. However, this is time-consuming and expensive. There is a desperate need for a low-cost, time-efficient, formative PD evaluation tool directly linked to student achievement. State department authorities and school leaders need this information to make informed decisions on behalf of students and to allocate tax money more judiciously. Research for the necessity to monitor PD, as well as connect it to student success, is easier said than done. The Missouri Professional Learning Communities (MO PLC) project is using the Benchmark Assessment Tool (BAT) to formatively measure the level of implementation of Professional Learning Community (PLC) concepts in schools. The purpose of this quantitative study was to use an ANOVA test to determine if BAT scores from 331 schools across the state of Missouri had a significant correlation to math and English Language Arts (ELA) Missouri Assessment Program (MAP) index scores. By gathering BAT scores from schools all around the state, a variety of demographics were included in this study. Findings from this study revealed no significant correlation between BAT scores and math and ELA MAP index scores. Therefore, a null hypothesis was realized. As a result, the BAT cannot be used as a Guskey (2000) Level 5 evaluation tool for determining PD effectiveness because it does not show a significant impact on student achievement.
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