Archive for April, 2007



How Do We Help Prepare Students for Their Life-Long Learning?

Hammer

Elementary school prepares our students for middle school. Middle school prepares them for high school. High School prepares them for college. College prepares them for a job. So who prepares them for life? When do we prepare them for their future? Our fixation on having students’ pass academic tests but still not knowing the basics of life is sad.

My father used to complain that I went to college for four years and still did not know how to hold a hammer. He was wrong!! I went to college for eight years.

Do we help to prepare students for their future in terms of being a life-long learner? Do we provide opportunities for them to weight their decisions within the classroom? Do we provide opportunities for them to self-assess when they have to create their own “rubric”? Do we provide opportunities for them to set their own goals and measure their own progress? Do we provide opportunities for them to think of both pros and cons for situations and then make decisions? Do we provide opportunities for them to solve real-life problems?

We can use technology to bring the world into the class for our students so that their learning experiences are not academically-sterile but real-world complex!

How do you prepare your students to be life-long learners? Will their know how to hold a hammer (have life-long learning skills) after your class?

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007

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Flower Metaphor for Student Assessment and Accountability

Flower Metaphor

I like to take flower pictures. Depending on where I position myself in relation to the flower, it can be in the shadows or in the bright sunlight. Depending on my viewpoint of straight down, from the side or from the ground up, the flower looks very different. I may take a picture of a bunch of flowers or of one single flower. As I change a backdrop, the color of the flower may change and a light area becomes dark. At no time has the flower changed but each picture of it can be very different.

A flower is a good metaphor for assessment. An 80/100 on a test may be a horrible score, an average score or a very high one. An essay rated on the state writing rubric may score a 3/6 although the ideas in it are brilliant. A single state test does not show the many dimensions of student learning overtime.

Flowers are constantly changing just as our students, hopefully, are in their learning.

Let’s create flower albums of many different views of student learning for a single standard. Let’s look at the student’s progress from many different positions, angles, and backdrops. If we only concentrate on a few flowers (standards), then we can show the student in all his/her glory!

So how many different views of student learning do you have at present ? Use a spreadsheet or database to collect your various flower pictures of learning. Think of having your students create an eportfolio to highlight their many blooms.

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007

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Student Centered Assessment System- Course View

Student Centered Assessment System

My present view of an assessment system that depends on technology to provide the learner with a robust picture of his/her learning progress. At any given moment, a learner such as Alan can see his state test results, class grades, and all formative comments that are focused on a particular standard. He has a well rounded comprehensive view of where he was, where he is now, and where he still has to go in terms of the standard. Since his teacher also has access to this information, the teacher can provide scaffolding to help Alan be more successful in the standard. In addition, Alan can see how far he has progressed in his personal goals for the course and in his life long goals.

What is your view of an assessment system that helps students instead of just giving them grades? How have you implemented it with technology?

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007

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Shulman’s Student Accountability as Narrative

Accountability Story One Dimensional or Multi-Dimensional

Shulman offers seven pillars of assessment for accountability (telling the story of each student). Shulman, L. S. (2007). “Counting and Recounting: Assessment and the Quest for AccountabilityChange

1 Become explicit about the story you need to tell and the rationale for choosing it.

2. Do not think that there is a “bottom line.” What does any instrument measure and not measure? Assessment is only meaningful in the larger context.

3. Design multiple measures (array of instruments) to avoid narrowness of scope

4. Work on combining multiple measures. Develop rules for deciding how to display, organize, and aggregate the indicators.

5. Remember that high stakes corrupt.

6. Embed assessment into ongoing instruction. Do low stakes/high yield forms of assessment.

7. Become an active site and collaborative site for research on new forms of assessment, technologies to support such work and better strategies for integration of such approaches with instruction.

He feels that “we need a strategy to combine the local with the national and to meld low-stakes assessment with an accountability approach that will be minimally corrupting.

What is your story of your students’ learning? Is it a one dimensional view of state test scores? Is it a one dimensional view of quizzes and tests? Is it a multidimensional view that includes state tests, your tests, formative assessments and students’ goals? How big of a story can you tell at present about any student? How can you use technology to tell a fuller richer story about each learner?

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007

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Technology Supporting Or Hindering Learning In Your School?

Technology Supporting or Hindering Learning?

A large district is implementing Acuity testing. Elementary/middle students have to be tested using this online program. Therefore, at this critical time of the year, all computers in a school are being confiscated in order to create labs of computers so the students can be tested. The labs will stay up until all students have been tested on both Math and English Language Arts. Will the testing disrupt the technology-based learning projects that teachers had planned for this year before they knew that Acuity would be implemented? Definitely! Will the Acuity testing help students this late in the school year? No! Will the students be re-tested the start of the next school year? Yes!

How does technology support learning in your school/district? When does it hinder or block learning in your school/district? How can you modify how technology is used so that it better supports student learning?

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007

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Standards-Based Growth Report in Buffalo Area Schools

Report Card A or Standards Ratings

“‘Standards-Based Growth Report’ May Replace Grades” tells of schools in the Buffalo NY area that are moving from letter grade report cards to standards-based ones. For example, third grade students would be assessed on nineteen aspects in their English Language Arts Standard. Imagine that students, their parents and their teachers will know precisely of the skill level of each student. No longer will students have the letter grade of an “A” that does not tell what the students’ strengths and weaknesses are. No longer will students receive a letter grade that does not tell how well the students are doing in the standards. No longer will students be academically unknown to the next year’s teachers; with a quick glance at students’ standards’ levels, the teachers instantly have much valuable information on the students. No longer will a teacher be able to spend all year on his/her favorite topic but instead they will focus on the standards. No longer will tests and quizzes cover factual information when the standards require higher level thinking. No longer can parents say that their children did wonderfully last year and are doing poorly this year (“Alan got all As last year so how come he is getting Cs this year?”) since each part of the standard will be assessed in detail. No longer will parents wonder the purpose of any assignment since each assignment will be targeted at the standard.

Standards-based growth reports give reality to the learning experience. For once, students will know how they are progressing in the standards instead of aimlessly going through a course.

In a previous blog, I reported on Marzano’s approach of changing grading to be standards-based. How will you make your classroom standards-based? Your team standards-based? Your school standards-based? Start by sharing this article.

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007

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High School & College University Educators Disagree on What’s Important

High School and College Learning

Mary Beth Marklein in “Schoolteachers, professors differ on what’s important” in USA Today Tues April 10, 2007 IID reports on the ACT’s study which was just released. Some major differences

Math – High School teachers emphasize advanced content while profs want an in-depth understanding of fundamentals (basic operations and applications).

Science – High School teachers emphasize factual knowledge while profs want process and inquiry skills (evaluating similarities and differences).

English – High School teachers emphasize introductions and conclusions while profs do not think it is very critical.

Reading – Both agree on teaching ideas of “main ideas and author’s approach”

Maybe if we could get high school teachers and professors to sit together to discuss common learning goals then students would have a seamless transition from high school to college learning. Have you talked with a college prof recently about common learning goals? Have you talked with a high school teacher recently about common learning goals? Let’s set common goals.

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007

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RSS Education with Technology

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