The visit complements the self-study. It provides the opportunity for outsiders to share their perspectives and professional judgment with PDS partners. The process of preparing for a visit, the visit itself, and the report of the visit team provide PDS partnerships with the following benefits:
- A constant reminder that what is most important is what the partnership actually does, not what it says it does;
- The opportunity to learn from the professional judgment of peers;
- External credibility and validation of the PDS partnership, as viewed through the lens of national standards for professional development schools;
- Support for the PDS partnership efforts in developing a continuous improvement cycle.
Questions framing the visit:
- What is the work of the partnership? How do inquiry and a focus on student learning drive that work?
- How does the partnership’s PDS work simultaneously focus on meeting P–12 students’ needs and support the learning of candidates and faculty?
- How well is each of the five PDS Standards represented in the work of the partnership? Using the developmental guidelines, at which stage of development does the partnership see itself? What evidence supports this?
- How well are the key concepts represented in the partnership work?
At the present time, NCATE does not facilitate PDS site visits or train visitors. However, NCATE encourages the use of the assessment process by others.