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Efficacy as a Metric

As mentioned in the initial post, I consider Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) to be a strategy and not a goal. Without a doubt, there are some principals who have written PLCs into their school's strategic plans in goal oriented language, if not into the actual goal section of the plan. This encourages a dangerous mindset. Developing a PLC at your school is not a goal. (Despite what your Superintendent tells you) Improving your school in terms of student achievement and other measures is the goal. PLCs are one of many strategies that are employed to reach that goal. Semantics? Not really. If your goal is to have a Professional Learning Community at your school, that is what you'll get. Clear understanding of the differences between goals and strategies help to ensure that the goal remains "the main thing."

A difficult aspect of the time spent in teacher collaboration is answering the question, "what difference does it make?" Those hoping to see immediate results in the form of improved student performance on standardized tests might become quickly frustrated. Although PLCs do make a difference, and that difference is immediately realized, it can be difficult to measure.

One method for measuring progress is by examining your staff's sense of efficacy. I use efficacy here in its raw form, the capacity to produce a desired result. How a staff feels about its collective ability to cause the improvements called for in the strategic plan can be an important metric.

The link below will take you to the Collective Efficacy Scale. This brief survey, and accompanying scoring instructions can provide for an interesting staff meeting discussion, as well as a decent pre-post measure of PLC effectiveness. efficacy

Give it a try, the results may surprise you.

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