The development of a well-qualified STEM-oriented technician workforce is critical to the nation's continued economic competitiveness. A means for developing this workforce is to provide professional development (PD) opportunities to those who teach the technicians of the future. While professional development opportunities flourish, an on-going challenge is providing evidence that these types of activities make a difference in fostering the growth of the knowledge, skills, and productive attitudes of students who are pursuing technician careers in STEM fields. Building on a current system of resources to improve the assessment of professional development activities, the primary goal of the workshop and pre- and post-workshop activities is to refine and test a set of professional development resources. Collectively, these resources comprise the Formative Assessment Systems for Advanced Technological Education (ATE) resources (FAS4ATE) toolkit. Testing of this toolkit involves verification that the collection, analysis, and use of PD evaluation data are feasible for all ATE projects and centers, and in turn improve the assessment and reporting of student outcomes.
Drawing on current literature and work on formative assessment and learning, the project will revise and test the FAS4ATE toolkit for usability and scalability. The combination of piloting the implementation of the toolkit with well-experienced teams of principal investigators and evaluators with expert review of the resources will investigate the underlying assumption that availability and access to well-design resources to assess professional development will improve the evaluation of PD activities and in turn lead to well documented and evidence-based claims of the effect of PD on student outcomes.
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