10 Training and Professional Development

Chapter 10 of the Dynamic Learning Maps® (DLM®) Alternate Assessment System 2015–2016 Technical Manual—Science (Dynamic Learning Maps Consortium, 2017) describes the training that was offered in 2015–2016 for state and local education agency staff, the required test administrator training, and the optional professional development provided. This chapter presents the participation rates and evaluation results from 2019–2020 use of the required training and optional instructional professional development. This chapter also describes the updates made to the required test administrator training and professional development system during 2019–2020.

For a complete description of training and professional development for DLM assessments, including a description of training for state and local education agency staff, along with descriptions of facilitated and self-directed training, see Chapter 10 of the 2015–2016 Technical Manual—Science (Dynamic Learning Maps Consortium, 2017).

10.1 Required Training for Test Administrators

Test administrators are educators who administer the DLM alternate assessments to students. Training is required annually for all test administrators. For first-time test administrators, the required training consists of four modules, each with an activity and a post-test. This training is offered in two formats: facilitated (in-person training) and self-directed (online). For returning test administrators, the required training consists of a single module and a four-part post-test with select questions taken from the post-tests for the four modules for new test administrators. The required training for returning test administrators is offered in the self-directed format only.

For 2019–2020, the only changes made to the trainings pertained to updating dates, screenshots, and a few minor changes to language.

10.2 Instructional Professional Development

The DLM professional development system includes seven modules that address instruction in science and support educators in creating Individual Education Programs that are aligned with the DLM Essential Elements. The complete list of module titles is included in Table 10.2. The modules are available in two formats, self-directed and facilitated, which are accessed at the DLM professional development website.

The self-directed modules were designed to meet the needs of all educators, especially those in rural and remote areas, offering educators just-in-time, on-demand training. The self-directed modules are available online via an open-access, interactive portal that combines videos, text, student work samples, and online learning activities to engage educators with a range of content, strategies, and supports. It also gives educators the opportunity to reflect upon and apply what they are learning. Each module ends with a post-test, and educators who achieve a score of 80% or higher on the posttest receive a certificate via email.

The facilitated modules are intended to be used with groups. This version of the modules was designed to meet the need for face-to-face training without requiring a train-the-trainers approach. Instead of requiring trainers to be subject-matter experts in content related to academic instruction and about the population of students with the most significant cognitive disabilities, the facilitated training is delivered via video recorded by subject-matter experts instead. Facilitators are provided with an agenda, a detailed guide, handouts, and other supports required to enable a meaningful, face-to-face training. By definition, they are facilitating training developed and provided by members of the DLM professional development team.

To support state and local education agencies in providing continuing education credits to educators who complete the modules, each module also includes a time-ordered agenda, learning objectives, and biographical information about the faculty who developed and delivered the training.

10.2.1 Professional Development Participation and Evaluation

As reported in Table 10.1, a total of 520 modules were completed in the self-directed format from September 1, 2019, to August 31, 2020. Since the first module was launched in the fall of 2012, a total of 121,360 modules have been completed.

Table 10.1: Number of Self-Directed Modules Completed in 2019–2020 by Educators in DLM States and Other Localities (N = 520)
State Self-directed modules completed
Utah   43
New York   42
Iowa   35
New Jersey   28
Arkansas   11
Colorado   10
Illinois     8
Maryland     8
Missouri     6
Rhode Island     4
Wisconsin     4
Delaware     2
Oklahoma     2
North Dakota     1
Non-DLM states and other locations 316

To evaluate educator perceptions of the utility and applicability of the modules, DLM staff asked educators to respond to a series of evaluation questions upon completion of each self-directed module. Three questions asked about importance of content, whether new concepts were presented, and the utility of the module. Educators responded using a four-point scale ranging from strongly disagree to strongly agree. A fourth question asked whether educators planned to use what they learned, with the same response options. During the 2019–2020 year, educators completed the evaluation questions 86% of the time. The responses were consistently positive, as illustrated in Table 10.2. Across all modules approximately 77% of respondents either agreed or strongly agreed with each statement.

Table 10.2: Response Rates and Rate of Agree or Strongly Agree on 2019–2020 Self-Directed Module Evaluation Questions

10.3 Conclusion

During the 2019–2020 year, minor text and screenshot changes were made to the required test-administrator training. Educators provided consistently positive feedback regarding the importance and relevance of the professional development modules.