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Studying Evaluative Process: Critical Thinking Around Observing Science Professional Development Workshops


"The process of science program evaluation needs more voice; there is as much to be gained from sharing how critical thinking evolves into data collection instruments as there is in describing the results of a program's impact. Knowledge-sharing around instrumentation and data collection builds expertise in the field of program evaluation and treats the process of documenting program and research design as a collective responsibility (Design-Based Research Collective, 2003; National Research Council, 2001). In this paper, we practice what's been preached by articulating the steps we took to develop an observation protocol for observing science content professional development workshops for high school teachers. Understanding and discussing these processes illustrates the iterative process through which teaching practice informs instrument development and vice versa. What follows is a narrative of how we ended up with our final measure and what we learned about instrument development and data collection along the way. The end goal is to stimulate conversations among program evaluators and science educators about the characteristics of research design and instrumentation."