Posted on: May 23, 2001 at 3:35 PM
So, it's beginning to hit me that Mark and I are talking about somewhat different things.
I'm not advocating that Professional Development, per se, be evaluated in terms of student achievement (or, for that matter, that this conference be evaluated in terms of student achievement). RATHER, I'm hoping, hoping, hoping to see evidence (somewhere, somehow) that an entire LSC (complete with instructional materials, PD, community support, etc.) has an indisputably positive impact on students. I think we all believe in our heart of hearts that, to quote a friend (namely Mark), "a steady diet" of high quality instruction improves student learning. But, I have yet to see data that "an independent panel of scientists" could agree provides solid evidence in support of the inquiry-oriented science instruction that LSCs typically work so hard to foster.
For sustainability, it seems absolutely essential that we be able to convince people outside the LSC world that we're headed in the right direction. For many of them (those outside the LSC world), the arguments in favor of inquiry-oriented instruction don't seem as obvious as they do to us, and they often ask for quantitative evidence.
So my real plea, I guess, is that we find strong evidence that students indeed learn more through a steady diet of what we believe to be high quality instruction than they do through a steady diet of what we believe to be low quality instruction. If such evidence already exists, I would appreciate very much being directed to it.