Washington adopted a definition and standards for professional learning to
guide the preparation and delivery of high quality professional learning for
those responsible for planning, facilitating, and sponsoring professional
Definition of Professional Learning
Washington State law, adopted by the Legislature in March 2016, delineates professional learning standards for content, process, and context (HB 1345).
The term "professional learning" means a comprehensive, sustained, job-embedded, and collaborative approach to improving teachers' and principals' effectiveness in raising student achievement. The definition is codified in
ESSA defines professional development as activities that are an integral part of school and local educational agency strategies for providing educators…with the knowledge and skills necessary to enable students to succeed in a well-rounded education and to meet the challenging state academic standards; and are sustained (not stand-alone, 1-day, or short-term workshops), intensive, collaborative, job-embedded, data-driven, and classroom-focused. (View ESSA)
Standards for Professional Learning
Standards for professional learning provide guidance on the preparation
and delivery of high quality professional learning to those responsible for
planning, facilitating, and sponsoring professional learning.
Washington State Standards for Professional Learning align well with those of Learning Forward, a national organization devoted exclusively to advancing professional learning for student success. These standards establish clear expectations for districts, schools, and educational agencies to implement high-quality professional learning.
For a side-by-side look at the Washington and Learning Forward standards, with questions districts might ask of their professional learning strategies, see A Standards for Professional Learning Crosswalk (PDF)
Clear goals and objectives relevant to desired student outcomes that are aligned with state, district, school, and educator goals and priorities (RCW 28A.415.432, 1 a-b).
Based on data analysis and measured to determine that it meets targets; promotes collaboration to achieve identified goals; advances educators’ ability to apply professional learning to specific content; and models good pedagogical practice (RCW 28A.415.432, 2 a-e).
Makes use of relevant resources to meet goals; facilitated by a knowledgeable professional; and designed so that sessions connect and build upon each other for a coherent and useful learning experience for educators (RCW 28A.415.432, 3 a-c).
Resources and Materials
FAQ: The More You Know
Resources and materials from Learning Forward
Other Research-Based Articles and Information
Professional Learning Information from Selected State Departments of Education websites