Comprehensive Professional Development System for Early Learning Professionals
Project Team: 
Lauren Porter
The Ohio State Univeristy
Debbie Zorn, EdD
University of Cincinnati
Imelda Castañeda-Emenaker, EdD
University of Cincinnati
Kathleen Carr, PhD
Strategic Research Group
Jillian Hmurovic, MA
Strategic Research Group
Julia DeGreg, PhD
University of Cincinnati
Katherine Schaefer, MEd
University of Cincinnati
Key Words: 
early learning

The Ohio Education Research Center, with The Ohio State University as the fiscal agent, is conducting an external evaluation of the development and implementation of a comprehensive professional development system (CPDS) for early learning professionals. The CPDS is being funded through Ohio’s RttT Early Learning Challenge Grant.  The developer of the CPDS is the Ohio Child Care Resource and Referral Association (OCCRRA). The Ohio State University, Strategic Research Group, and the University of Cincinnati Evaluation Services Center are collaborating on the external evaluation. 

Evaluation Design

The CPDS addresses the professional development needs of early learning and development professionals to provide appropriate learning environments for the socio-emotional development, cognitive, language and literacy learning, as well as physical development needs of children from birth to kindergarten entry. The target audience for the CPDS is early learning and development professionals who are currently served by multiple state agencies and regional professional development (PD) networks. Considering the developmental nature of creating a complex system that integrates provisions of professional development through agencies and networks across the state, the evaluation team is taking a developmental approach to evaluation. Developmental evaluation is meant to facilitate reflection, priority setting, and decision making through regular and timely consideration of emergent data and observations.

The evaluation objectives related to the three project components are:

  1. To determine the extent to which a seamless comprehensive PD system has been established and coordinated through the alignment of the work of the Ohio state agencies  and OCCRRA project team/ CPDS Regional Coordinators related to early childhood institutions and professional development coordination for the needs of the state’s early learning and development providers and professionals;
  2. To appraise the development and usefulness of the 16 new PD modules and the different formats being implemented through the grant;
  3. To appraise the actual delivery of PD content within the established comprehensive PD system (CPDS) that includes:
    1. Participation [Nature and process of solicitation of participation; extent of reach and inclusion of the different early learning and development professionals and provider agencies in the state for all PD content areas]
    2. Mechanisms and quality of the delivery  of specific content, including the formats used, frequency of delivery, and the perceived and observed quality of PD
    3. Fidelity of implementation of the PD across the 12 regional networks [including mentoring, coaching, monitoring and community of learners processes, and conference presentations]
    4. Effects of PD on early learning and development professionals’ knowledge and skills; results and changes in early learning and development professionals’ knowledge and practice and possible differential effects of different mechanisms of delivery.