Monday, October 24, 2016

How to Gather Evidence of Positive Outcomes

I don't know about you, but there are times when I feel like I haven't made a bit of difference in my work.  As a leader, how do you gather evidence of outcomes?  I think by default, many of us look only for end results.  We want to see evidence of 100% buy-in of an idea or program.  We look for big shifts in thinking around a topic we have been advocating for.  When we don't see those obvious outcomes, we decide that our work didn't have an impact.

 A few weekends ago I had the chance to work with educators from across the country who are part of the Collaborative for Student Success Teacher Champion Fellowship.  Part of our work that weekend focused on gathering evidence of outcomes from our work.  We worked with a great team from Bellwether Education who helped us recognize 4 levels of outcomes connected to our work.  As I listened to their presentation I had one of those light bulb moments.  Evidence of impact has been all around me, I just wasn't paying attention to it!  Here are some ideas to help you be more mindful of the evidence of all levels of outcomes of your work - with parents, teachers or education leaders.  After looking at the outcome levels below, how might you think about evidence of your impact on student learning through the same 4 levels of outcomes?  How might you structure your formative assessment and instruction to allow you to collect evidence at each level?

Outcome Level 1 - Raised Awareness
Evidence of impact at this level might include sign-in sheets from presentations, push-back if your outcome might include making a shift in thinking or culture, interest in future discussions or collaboration, use of new terminology.

Outcome Level 2 - Learning 
Evidence of impact at this level might include emails asking for more information or posing follow-up questions, Professional Learning Communities or teacher teams discussing the shift or topic, PTA information nights, blog posts or twitter chats that include the shift or topic, requests for additional resources or examples.

Outcome Level 3 - Changing Behaviors/Attitudes
Evidence of impact at this level might include proposed changes in policy at the building, district or state level,  pilot projects, less push-back, shift in funding or budget to support additional professional development around the shift or topic, or purchase/design of new instructional materials.

Outcome Level 4 - Results
Evidence of impact at this level might include enacted policy changes, implementation of revised curriculum or instructional materials, regular use of terms in professional conversations, widespread acceptance of the shift or topic, shared ownership of the shift or topic.

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