All six of these characteristics underscore the significance of collaboration and give further clarity to
what professional learning for the future should look like.
Professional Learning and Teacher Performance Appraisal
If mastery is the third condition for motivated teachers, which is truly what we are after in any
professional growth model, then we need to consider what mastery means and looks like. The task force
turned its attention to researching professional learning as it is related to teacher performance appraisal
in this context.
Broadly, our research demonstrated that traditional professional goal setting practices that tie individual
teachers’ goals to school aims or teacher evaluation assess teacher learning rather than a teacher’s
impact on student learning. According to much of our research, tying teacher learning to teacher
appraisal thwarts the conditions that facilitate intrinsic motivation and collaboration. In a Harvard
Business School working paper, Goals Gone Wild: The Systematic Side Effects of Over-Prescribing Goal
Setting, Ordonez et al. (2009) reviewed a number of goal setting studies and identified side effects of
goal setting that included “a narrow focus that neglects non-goal areas, a rise in unethical behavior,
distorted risk preferences, corrosion of organizational culture, and reduced intrinsic motivation”
(Ordonez et al., 2009).
Disconnecting professional learning and goal setting from teacher performance appraisal, then,
eliminates a practice that compromises intrinsic motivation and collaboration for professional
development. The purpose of any school is to help students to be successful learners. Individual teacher
appraisal therefore, must not appraise a teacher’s learning but must evaluate their impact on student
learning. There are many ways to determine student learning success, including standards-based
assessments, skills assessments, as well as measuring engagement, confidence, collaboration, and
readiness in a variety of areas. Tools that can measure these learning areas include formative and
summative assessments, portfolios, presentations, and standards-based rubrics.
How might teachers’ professional learning be monitored, then? Valentine proposes a shift from this
faculty evaluation model “wherein administrators observed classes and wrote reports that were placed
in a file” to a growth model “wherein individual teachers drive their own professional learning and keep
their own files” (2014).
In a 2013 school-wide teacher survey, 82. 6 of ASB teachers cite time as the biggest barrier to effective
implementation of professional learning. The findings of this survey align with findings by Allison
Gulamhussein when she notes that “The duration of professional development must be significant and
ongoing to allow time for teachers to learn a new strategy…” (2013, p. 3).
What might “significant” time look like? According to the National Staff Development Council
publication Professional Learning in the Learning Profession, “teachers typically need close to 50 hours
of PD in a given area to improve their skills and their students’ learning” (Darling-Hammond, et al.,
2009). When teachers receive well-designed professional development, an average of 49 hours spread
over six to 12 months, they can increase student achievement by as much as 21 percentile points (Yoon
et al., 2007). “On the other hand, one-shot, ‘drive-by,’ or fragmented, ‘spray-and-pray’ workshops
lasting 14 hours or less show no statistically significant effect on student learning” (Darling-Hammond et