MO PLC Benchmark Assessment Tool (BAT)
The Benchmark Assessment Tool is a whole staff survey designed to assess implementation of key PLC components. Schools complete the survey once each year.
In his book Beyond the Numbers, Stephen White refers to the concept of “triangulation” as a component of data-driven decision making. In particular, he says that “triangulation is a method of extrapolating meaning from raw data; a means to find the critical information, see the big picture, and identify key components.”(White, pg.108). The Benchmark Assessment Tool utilizes the concept of triangulation to extrapolate a deeper understanding of the level of PLC implementation of schools through the analysis of staff survey responses, leadership team survey responses and building administrator responses.
Purpose of the Benchmark Assessment Tool
The Benchmark Assessment Tool (BAT) is designed to measure the extent to which a school is implementing the essential features of professional learning communities (PLC). The PLC BAT is designed to assess the level of PLC implementation in three domains: collaboration, student learning, and teacher learning. Within these domains are twelve benchmarks and each benchmark is further broken down into specific PLC practices. The results of the PLC BAT give schools insight into their collaborative culture by identifying strengths and areas for improvement. In summary, the PLC BAT is designed to do the following.
- Assess PLC features that are in place,
- Determine areas for improvement,
- Heighten awareness of a results-orientated PLC,
- Evaluate progress towards a PLC model of collaboration, student learning, and teacher learning, and
- Focus efforts to develop a PLC that is focused on student achievement and behavioral support.
The PLC BAT contains three pieces intended to collect information describing the collaborative culture and practices in the school. The three pieces are designed to target the perceptions from the school administrator, leadership team, and all school staff. This multiple source approach triangulates the responses giving a broad description of the implementation of PLC.
PLC Staff Survey
The PLC Staff Survey is designed to be completed by instructional staff and building administrators who participate in grade level, content, or other type of PLC team. This 15 item survey asks staff about their perspectives of and involvement in collaborative teams focused on student learning. Responses to the survey items use a three level scale of “not in place,” “partially in place,” and “in place.” Staff who are not involved in any type of PLC team are asked to respond to only the first question on the survey asking about their familiarity with the school’s mission and vision.
Leadership Team Survey
In addition to the PLC Staff Survey, the Building Leadership Team also completes the 11 item Leadership Team Survey. The Leadership Team Survey poses questions about the level of school-wide proficiency on key factors important to school-wide collaboration focused on student learning. Using a six level response scale, the Leadership Team ranks the level of proficiency from “not in place” to “deep implementation.”
Administrators complete the leadership team survey questions, as well as six additional questions. These questions also utilize a six level response scale.
Administering the PLC BAT
Each of the surveys are designed to be administered using an online survey system. Leading into the surveys are questions that identify the responder by his/her instructional role in the building (i.e. special education, general education, counselor, administrator, etc.), ask if he/she is a member of a content, grade level, or other PLC team, and ask if he/she is a member of the Building Leadership Team. Based on the responses to these identifying questions, the survey routes the responder to the appropriate survey items. For example, the Building Leadership Team members will be routed to complete both the PLC Staff Survey and the Building Leadership Team survey. As another example, a general education teacher will be routed to complete only the PLC Staff Survey. If a responder does not identify as being part of a grade level, content, or other PLC team, he/she is then routed to respond to only one question about the building shared mission and vision.
Summarizing the Results
The results from all surveys are compiled onto the PLC BAT summary worksheet for each school building. The BAT Results Summary Worksheet is a matrix aligning the three domains and twelve benchmarks with the surveys and interview. On the Worksheet, the results for the survey items that contribute to interpreting the achievement of the benchmark are clustered. Building leadership teams will receive the BAT Summary from regional specialists once the building survey is complete.
Validity and Reliability Analysis