An extensive range of professional learning activities are provided for teachers by the Department of Education and Skills (DES) through teacher support services, Education Centres, DES agencies and other initiatives. A complete evaluation of the impact of these professional learning activities is crucial to ensure that the needs of teachers, schools, students and the DES are being met effectively and efficiently.
The DES has committed to evaluating the impact of Teachers’ Professional Learning (TPL) activities, including a specific evaluation of TPL activities in the area of student wellbeing, in the Action Plan for Education 2018. In 2018, the ERC began working on behalf of the DES to develop a research based framework for the evaluation of TPL. This project is guided by a Steering Committee which includes representatives from the DES and teacher support services responsible for the provision of TPL.
Current and planned work
The overarching aim of this project is to develop a framework for the evaluation of TPL which can be applied to TPL in any subject area. However, for the purpose of this project, specific TPL programmes in the area of student wellbeing are chosen as applied examples during the development of the evaluation framework. The project consists of a number of phases which are outlined in further detail below and data gathered at each phase will inform the development of the framework for the evaluation of TPL.
A review of the literature covering:
- Existing TPL frameworks
- Identification of both challenges and enablers of TPL
- Identification of best practices for process evaluation and impact assessment of TPL
- A description of the broader school and policy context for student wellbeing
- A profile of student wellbeing in the Irish context
- A description of TPL in the area of student wellbeing that has taken place in Ireland over the past 5 years.
Survey of principals and teachers on TPL and student wellbeing
A survey was implemented with a representative sample of principals and teachers in early 2020. The survey aims to explore principals’ and teachers’ views on TPL activities with a particular focus on the area of student wellbeing. The survey addressed four key areas:
- Their thoughts on TPL in general
- Their recent participation in TPL activities
- Their understanding of ‘student wellbeing’
- Their needs in relation to TPL in the area of student wellbeing.
PDF copies of survey questionnaires
PDF versions of the survey questionnaires are available below for review purposes only.
Primary schools – English
Post-primary schools – English
Special schools – English
Primary schools – Gaeilge
Post-primary schools – Gaeilge
In-depth study of TPL and student wellbeing
Following the survey of principals and teachers, further in-depth study will take place. The methodology for this stage of the project will be determined once survey results are available.
Timeframe and deliverables
This project runs over a three year period (2018-2021). Project outputs and milestones are outlined below.
2019 – The initial literature review commenced. A nationally representative sample of schools was selected for further study and survey instruments for a large scale survey of principals and teachers were developed.
2020 – The survey of principals and teachers was piloted and administered. The findings from the literature review and the survey of principals and teachers will be published.
2021 – Further in-depth study will take place leading to the development of the final framework for the evaluation of TPL.
The study is overseen by a Steering Committee (chaired by Teacher Education, DES) which provides guidance on the study, monitors progress, and approves reports on the study. Caroline Rawdon, with the assistance of Lorraine Gilleece, Kara Sampson and Jude Cosgrove, oversees the study in the ERC.