It is important to consider evaluation very early on in designing CPD. You cannot evaluate after the process alone – evaluation depends on identifying a need, determining what success would be first and then evaluating against that.
It is also important to recognise the different levels of evaluation (see below, from T. Guskey).
It would seem that the bottom levels of impact are more important than the top (ie it is more important to have an impact on student learning than how staff feel). However, you cannot have an impact on the bottom level if the upper levels are not in place (ie you have to ensure that CPD is well delivered, has an impact on staff’s practice, that the organisation supports any change, and finally that there is an impact on student knowledge).
You will not be able to evaluate at every level with every aspect of CPD – for example it is quite valid to impact participant learning by giving staff new knowledge about a new process in school. However, for CPD which claims to have an impact on student learning, you will need to evaluate at that level.
Evaluation of CPD is not just the responsibility of leadership – colleagues learn more about an approach by taking part in its evaluation. All colleagues should be engaging in formative evaluation.
You should support staff to evaluate their practice and the impact of any external CPD they take part in. Staff should formatively evaluate any new idea they try out. Staff should feel safe and secure in evaluating something and finding that it doesn’t work.
What Difference does it Make? Evaluating the Impact of CPD in Schools – Excellent 9-page summary by Alma Harris, Christopher Day, Janet Goodall, Geoff Lindsay and Daniel Muijs
Evaluating the Impact of CPD – longer research report by the same authors as above, providing data on impact evaluation
Evaluating CPD: Hard but not impossible, a blog from Phil Stock, Greenshaw High School, a TDT Network member