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Background to the action research project

Staff in FE colleges often attend Continuous Professional Development (CPD) sessions to improve practice elements. On many occasions this is disseminated to colleagues or integrated into their teaching, learning and assessment practices. However, discussions with colleagues often reveal that they have not had the time or support mechanisms to do this. Many teachers are engaging in hours of CPD, to improve teaching, learning and assessment, but how is the effect of this measured, how do we know learners are learning better and what could be done better to increase the impact?

Currently, following lesson observations staff have development plans for improvement, are given a teaching mentor to support them or asked to share their good practice. CPD sessions are offered in an annual programme to support improvement in teaching, learning and assessment. Staff are also asked to give feedback on the CPD sessions that they attended, revisit this a few weeks and months later to say how it has impacted on their classroom practice. However this data collection is ‘sketchy’ at best and relies on reflective practitioners. Sometimes the ‘change’ is observed during learning walks or observations, but capturing this evidence or measuring the impact is often left unrecorded. This makes it more difficult to offer focused and effective CPD for the future.

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