Technology, Assessment, and Professional
by David Hoffman
There's a professional development theme to some of the
content of this issue that I'll get to in a moment. But
in terms of professional development, I can't pass up
my last opportunity, in print at least, to mention our
Internet@Schools West conference in Monterey, California.
It's coming up in November: November 15 and 16, to be
precise. Two days, four tracks: The Web: What's New Out
There Now?; Adding Value Through the LMCHow to Get
Everyone on Board; Technology & Its FalloutHelping
Students & Teachers Cope; and Ramping Up Research
November/December author Robert Lackie ("Free and
Fee-Based Online Science Resources for the K-12-Community,"
pp. 10+, with Robert Congleton) will be presenting,
along with Gary Price of ResourceShelf.com fame, Debbie
Abilock of KnowledgeQuest and NoodleTools fame, Dr.
Mary Ann Bell, and lots of others. I can't think of
a better professional development opportunity than listening
to and interacting with them and other colleagues at
this event. If you can make last-minute plans, then
the place to start is www.infotoday.com/Internet@Schools/default.shtml.
Back to this issue's content: We went looking for
separate stories on assessment and data analysis on
the one hand and professional development on the other,
and, interestingly, ended up with articles that point
to a sort of convergence of the two. We found two authors
whose organizations are pushing the envelope in the
use of technology and data to improve student achievement
byamong other waysimproving the focus and
effectiveness of schools' and districts' professional
Bruce Goldberg of professional development provider
Co-nect writes of a U.S. Department of Education-funded
project Co-nect is leading to ultimately "provide districts
with the tools to make data-driven decisions about the
types of professional development that are most effective
in improving instructional practice and raising student
achievement." Beyond using student demographic and assessment
data, the 3-year project is using perceptual, instructional
practice, and professional development dataall
of which are defined and explained in the article. See
Goldberg's "Data Driven Professional Development" (pp.
2425) for more.
And Allan Olson of the Northwest Evaluation Association,
writing about taking data compilation to another level,
notes: "Just as technology provides the data that enable
schools to adjust curriculum to student needs, it also
informs adjustments to professional development. ..."
Olson's article, "Assessment, Student Achievement, and
Technology That Moves Schools Forward," starts on page