Unconscious bias is, by definition, unconscious. Assumptions and behaviors don’t change on their own — schools must create the environment for teachers and administrators to continually learn and grow. A one-time seminar may provide information, but it doesn’t meaningfully change behavior over time. This means PD leaders have two tasks:
- Include embedded, ongoing anti-racist content in their professional learning programs
- Continually evaluate and adjust those programs for effectiveness and equity
Any work that deals with attitudinal change like unconscious bias must be embedded so it’s front-of-mind and continuously active. This means applying the same best practices found in any other PD intervention: set goals like KASABs, track them regularly, and assess their outcomes formatively for implementation success.
With such a critical and sensitive subject, there’s no room for “wait and see.” Let’s explore how to evaluate anti-racist teacher PD, and ensure that the training is translating into classroom practice.
Qualitative feedback can give us a lot: a basic sense for how the training was received and a richness in understanding why or why not. But no one person can attend every training and observe every classroom.
We know that implementation matters in curricular and instructional programs like SEL: the same is true for equity. The results of continuous learning are hard to measure in the moment, but implementation is trackable — and what gets measured gets managed.
Tip 1: Monitor attitudes over time
The main source of insight into your program’s success is the lived experience of your teachers. Getting this information is typically accomplished by assessment surveys: a short questionnaire given to participants at regular intervals throughout the year.
We typically recommend one assessment beginning-of-year (to establish a baseline), one middle-of-year (to observe progress), and one end-of-year (to draw conclusions for the next cycle). Many districts also choose to administer a shortened version after each individual training, then use the results to inform the next session in real time.