The Penn Literacy Network’s academic program assessments are aimed at looking closely at various aspects of a school or district’s learning environment and teaching practices. The process involves the completion of self-reflection and/or needs assessment surveys, school and classroom visitations and semi-structured one-on-one or small group conversations with teachers and/or school leaders. The data is compiled into a report for school leadership to use to inform decisions regarding future professional development and curricular planning. The focus/foci of the assessment is determined based on the needs of the school/district and in collaboration between the leadership team and PLN. Primary and secondary (if applicable) foci may include, but are not limited to:
- Teacher perception of their own teaching practice, considering the State Standards and/or curriculum
- Teacher perception/practice of literacy across the curriculum
- Professional development needs
- Clarifying and refining curriculum
- School leadership
- Support systems for teachers: school culture, collaboration, coaching, etc.
- The learning environment as an invitation for learning
Five Step Process
While each assessment is developed specifically to meet the needs of the participating school/district, the assessment involves five general steps:
- Identification of the assessment focus/foci: PLN team meets with the school/district leadership to determine the primary and any secondary foci for the assessment and to gather important background information.
- Survey of educators: During staff meeting time, the PLN assessment manager visits the school and staff completes assessment surveys specific for the primary/secondary foci. Surveys are anonymous.
- Survey compilation: The PLN manager compiles survey data and determines trends as a foundation for the school/classroom visits.
- School and classroom visits: The manager visits the school and various classrooms to record observations and hold semi-structured, one-on-one or small group discussions with teachers and school leaders.
- Report: The manager compiles the final assessment report and presents findings to the school leadership team and other audiences if applicable.