Survey of current PDP practice in HE and FE
With particular attention to terminology and information.
Simon Grant and Helen Richardson - 2002-11-27
- Introduce self and check convenient to have a phone discussion now.
- Explain reason for call. The AIM is to find out what is being done, and why, in this area, often called Personal Development Planning in HE, more likely recording achievement and action planning in post 14/FE.
- The PURPOSE is to develop and share a common understanding of practice in the area.
- Should already know their name, institution name - HE / FE / school / other, and position in institution. Check these, and clarify their responsibility (for PDP) in the institution.
- Are you familiar with the term "Personal Development Planning", or PDP? Expect yes for HE, but if NO, give/unpack the definition of the process plus supporting info (only so far as is necessary to elicit recognition of what we are talking about)
- ... so PDP is 'a structured and supported process undertaken by an individual to reflect upon their own learning, performance and / or achievement and to plan for their personal, educational and career development.'
- By structured we mean designed and intended.
- By supported we mean that it is valued and facilitated by teachers and other professionals who promote and support student learning, and that appropriate materials and systems are provided for the process.
- By process we also mean a collection of processes that are connected in some way - we don't expect it to be a single continuous process.
- By personal, educational and career development we are talking about developing the whole person, including building self-identity and self-awareness.
- What is done or is about to be done in your institution, related to this concept of PDP, that you are responsible for / involved with, under whatever name?
At the top level, we call this a PDP programme. There may be more than one, but we will normally choose only the best known one for one interview. The individual may only know of one programme, and may not have knowledge of or responsibility for other programmes within the same institution. For the PDP programme as a whole (or, exceptionally, for each PDP programme):
- What is the official name (name to staff, name to students) given to the PDP programme?
For this and other names, we don't need to record variant acronyms or pet names, just names which might mean something to other people.
- When was it, or will it be, first used (or is it planned for an indefinite future time?)
- Is it still current? If not, when was it last used?
- What is the situation/status/environment of the students who participate in this PDP programme? (median age or typical age range, NQF level of educational programme, full/part-time, present/distant, or anything else that affects the kind of data stored about them in the Institution's records.).
- What is the overall direction and aim of the whole PDP programme? (see list of overall aims: if more than one, give rank importance)
- Is there a web page describing, or related to, the PDP programme? What is the web address of this, and of the department (or institution) that runs the PDP?
- List the names of the processes that make up this PDP programme...
A process is something at the level of "induction", "review of goals", "career preparation", "final year review" or whatever. For each process within the PDP programme:
- What is the official name (name to staff, name to students) given to this process?
- Are the current dates for this process the same as the programme as a whole? If not, detail.
- Is software used to support this process? If so, what is it? (If not known, please give software developer/support contact details.)
- List the elements, or parts of that process, in the way that they are thought of by the practitioners and participants.
A process element is something at the level of a tutorial, a class, a session, a task. If the exact same thing happens recurrently, we only want one. For each process element within the process:
- What is the official name (name to staff, name to students) for this part or element of the process?
- List the generic activities on our list that are covered by this process element. (If there are any elements which are recognisably PDP, but not covered by our list of generic activities, extend the generic activity list by adding appropriate new items.) (We'll come back to these later: probably best to follow through their terms first.)
- List the inputs to, and outputs from, this process element, in the official terminology of the institution - these are the "named outputs".
For each named output from the process element:
- What is the official name (name to staff, name to students) for this output?
- Who produces/generates it, student, staff member, student and staff together, or computer?
- Who keeps it: student / tutor / department / institution? If it is stored on a central computer system, record who has the right to alter it, i.e. the owner of the information.
- Is it stored long-term (past the end of the process), or temporarily, not kept beyond the time of immediate use? Or what? What happens to it at the end of storage?
- (If stored long-term,) is it assessed?
- If it is assessed, does it contribute to credits or marks or both?
We will need to be sure that the above questions are consistent for each named output. If they are not, please re-describe the output in units that are consistent. E.g. if a named output is partly stored by student, and part by institution, make that two named outputs. If all of it is stored by both, however, that is fine. Again, if part is assessed, and part not, describe instead two named outputs, the assessed bit and the bit not assessed.
- What are the parts of that named output, in terms of our list of generic outputs?
For each part, generic, output:
- What is the generic type of the part output, from our list? (one only)
- What is its format in terms of our list of formats?
- Refer to the place in the documentation where one can see the format detail, or if that is not available, make brief notes on length, heading type, box type etc.
Returning to each generic activity on our list (in the context of its process element):
- What is the generic type of the activity, from our list? (one only)
- By what means is the activity done? (from list of means, usually one only - different activities, part of the same process element, may be done by different means.)
- What are the generic inputs and outputs of this activity to and from other activities, i.e. the output parts as will probably have already been described?
Other details of that process:
- Are there any other important points to note which we may not have grasped?
To be answered once only for all the PDP programmes that the individual is reporting on:
- Is there a framework of definitions for skills / reusable competencies / qualities? If so, please send.
- If there is a general policy on assessment of PDP, how is that assessment done (criteria used, judgements of reliability & validity, transparency, progression?) and how and where is the outcome stored? (How) is it credit rated? Credit value per year/full programme?
- If there is a general policy on storage of output, what is stored, how, where, and why, who owns the records, who controls them, who can read them, for how long are they stored?
- If PDP in your institution is supported by ICT, what is the name of the ICT system? (Check against a list of the ones we know.) (This question has already been asked at the process level above, in case different processes use different ICT.)
- (if system is not on the list) Please give contact details of technical staff able to tell us more about exactly what information is stored where, and how the system works.
- Permissions for this survey information: can this information be distributed freely around our project networks (JISC 01-01, CETIS)? Is the information public, for members only, or private? If any personally identifiable examples are provided, can they be made effectively anonymous? If not, do we have the permission of the data subject?
Extra questions outside immediate scope which may help enrich / engage participants
- Quality/evaluation of the PDP system - do you have any evidence that the PDP processes you are reporting enhance student experience? (E.g. improved retention, enhanced progression, feedback from students of their perspective of PDP).
- (How) do processes and outcomes contribute to make PDP element of PF more explicit to the students?
- A ?shopping? list - are there ways you would like to be supported in this work?
- Any other PDP/PF issues you would like to raise
Thank interviewee for their time and help - and repeat that their info will help us to map out current practice so that it can be related together, help inform providers of ICT support systems, and help towards joining up PDP for learners moving between school / FE / HE / professions / life-long learning.
State intention, and ask permission, to get back in contact having analysed responses, to check their accuracy and appropriateness.