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How PLP Course Credits Are Determined

In determining professional learning credits, the Professional Learning Committee is more interested in the quality of the learning experience being offered than in how much time a College members spends at the activity.

For College members one of the most important questions about the Professional Learning Program has been how many credits their planned professional learning activity will receive, and how the credit value of various activities is decided.

The Professional Learning Committee announced earlier this year that Additional Qualification courses will each be worth four credits, and that other activities such as summer institutes, conferences, research projects and workshops will be eligible for anywhere from one to four credits. So how are those decisions being made?

The credit assigned to a specific activity is decided during the approval process, says Joe Jamieson of the College’s Professional Learning Unit. And although an activity must be at least five hours long, the decision "depends more on the learning experience an activity offers than the amount of time the member spends in a classroom."

Providers submit an application for each course or activity. The committee assesses it according to five criteria: the content and expectations of the activity, how it relates to the Ontario context, to what extent it addresses the College’s Standards of Practice for the Teaching Profession, the assessment mechanism, and how the activity contributes to student achievement.

For example, if a course has limited connection to the Ontario curriculum or addresses only one of the standards of practice, it might be assigned a minimal point value for each of those criteria.

If it addresses a number of standards of practice, makes a number of connections to the Ontario context or shows in the course submission that it has the potential to make a significant impact on student achievement, it will be given a higher point value.

The number of hours of instruction also receives a point value. The activity’s point total determines how many PLP credits it is worth.

For example, says Jamieson, a course in music that is designed for the general adult learner might be assigned one credit under the Professional Learning Program. A music course that will strengthen a teacher’s ability to improve student learning is likely to be assigned a higher credit – even though both activities require the same amount of instruction time.

Because the number of hours of instruction plays only a part, it is possible that a shorter course might be worth more credits than a longer one, says Jamieson. The course credit rubric is available on the College web site.

"We’re assessing these activities not knowing what the participating College member is teaching when they take the course or what they’ll be teaching in the future," says Jamieson. "So we make the decision on the basis of the quality of the professional learning experience for the member."


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