Staff formatively evaluate their own practice

‘Staff formatively evaluate their own practice’

Why is it important to evaluate?

Evaluation is not just about working out what’s worthwhile, evaluation is a key part of professional learning itself. When colleagues evaluate what works, what worked better for whom and what didn’t work, that’s when changes in practice, understanding and learning take place.

What do we mean by evaluation?

Within your own classroom without many resources you’re not going to be able to carry out conclusive research. You can certainly research your own practice, but your findings won’t be generalisable.

Equally, on your own, at the end of a lesson, reflecting and saying “yes, that felt better”, is not sufficient enough either.

Evaluative practice involves using evidence and indicators around you, such as pupil work, pupil feedback, data collected from observing pupils etc. Many of its principals underpin Lesson Study.

Key questions:

  • If I improve this particular practice, or try this technique, what would pupils be doing (and what would I see in their work) to show me that I’ve been successful in applying the idea/technique?
  • What would I see pupils say and do, or what would I see in their work if I’ve been only partially successful, or unsuccessful?
  • For each of the above, what would I see immediately, what would I see next lesson and what would I see in several weeks’ time?
  • What tools or assessments exist that will help me objectively measure the success of my pupils in this area? Are there other ways that I can overcome my innate biases and subjectivity?

It is important that evaluation is included when trying out something new, when applying research, when taking forward something from a course or blog, and for CPD in general.

Further resources for evaluating impact are available here.

Some colleagues may wish to engage in more formal evaluation of impact, for example using the Education Endowment Foundation DIY Evaluation Guide, while others may wish to work with a Higher Education Institution for more formal expert advice on research methods.

Other helpful resources: