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Greetings. A few minutes ago, I just completed a webinar hosted by ASCD:
THE TEACHER EVALUATION CONUNDRUM:
Value-Added or Devalued Teaching?
I raised questions regarded the dated nature of the assessments we are using, the enormous distrubtion of money and time to the efforts; the isolation of teachers; and the dimishment of curriculum. In turn, i shared concrete solutions from Montgomery County, Maryland's system; the Finnish focus on equity and excellence with no testing. Please feel free to raise your thoughts, questions, resources in this blog thread. Thank you for considering the ideas shared on the webinar. When it is up on the website, we will post a link here.
You can also go to our website: http://www.curriculum21.com and explore the Clearinghouse tab for lots of great free classroom tools and applications.
If you choose to join our network and join a specific group - go to: http://curriculum21.ning.com/group/teacher-effectiveness-issues This is our Learning Common network.
by Heidi Hayes Jacobs
So, it came down to one day, one test, at the Acropolis as the young men of Athens took out their #2 chisels to answer 30 questions on stone tablets. It is the annual timed test to prove the students’ knowledge and competence as they seek to become philosopher-kings. This valued test is the ultimate prize demonstrating not only the achievement of students, but also serves as the one key evaluation of the teacher.
Credit should be given to the test making company for developing multiple choice items with one correct answer given the challenging subject matter: philosophy and governance. Short answer constructed responses are a bit easier in those fields.
The results were posted in the Agora for all to see the quality and performance of their teacher. Socrates failed. He simply spent too much time asking them to think. A walk- through evaluation by his supervisor (undisclosed), determined that “ sometimes Socrates’s students meander through endless dialogues examining challenging questions that do not have one right answer.” Hopefully, he will be replaced or perhaps go through an intensive summer professional development program in Sparta.
What makes a quality BLOG? A quality WIKI? A video podcast to persuade? An audio podcast to dissuade? A tweet to inform? A business email? An engaging teacher web-page?
With new forms of assessments to upgrade teaching and learning we need corresponding new rubrics to provide feedback to our learners. Our team at Curriculum 21 has started a project to develop rubrics to assist educators in developing rubrics for use in our classrooms from the pre-K through college.
Students can and should be part of the rubric scaffolding process. Recently, for example, I was conducting a workshop when we listened to a podcast by some high school students in social studies regarding the Civil War. As we listened it was clear that this podcast was not ready for posting on the school podcasting channel. It sounded like a “first podcast DRAFT”. The ideas and content was excellent on the podcast but the delivery was stiff. Our group agreed that It sounded as if the students were reading directly from a script for the first time with no intention or connection. Thus, in the same way, that we have first and second and third iterations in “writing process”, we need the same review process on new 21st century assessment forms. Consider another example, at a recent TEDxNYED talk, I suggested that students create an APP as a performance task to demonstrate discrete problem solving strategies with a specific outcome. It is clear that learners and teachers would need to consider in advance what constitutes a practical, useable, and marketable APP?
Digi-rubrics will reflect the quality of the techniques used for the form such as use of camera angle and sound on a video podcast AND, as always, the content and ideas that are conveyed through the medium selected.
We invite you to send your thoughts, suggestions, and resources. You can post a comment here on the blog site or send an email to our director of C-21 projects: Bill@curriculum21.com (Bill Sheskey). Our goal will be post these rubrics on our Curriculum 21/Clearinghouse and at ASCD Edge to field-test them with students in our classrooms. Thank you!
Are your students time-traveling on testing day? Back to the 1980's- let's go.
If your tests are overwhelmingly multiple choice, fill in the blank, short constructed essay, longer extended essay whether open book or open note, then welcome back to the old days. I did some archival research online and found tests and items that went back to the late 1970's and early 1980's and found that they are identical TYPES of assessment to present day assessments. In many instances, they are identical in content as well.
Not only are the types of tests the same, too often so are the tools. We continue to venerate the #2 pencil. I wonder, when the pencil was invented, did kids have to go to PENCIL-LAB?... Did they march down the hall to the lab, return to the classroom, pick up their quills, dip them in an inkwell and proceed back to "work"?
Is there hope? Yes, I am reminded of the state of Rhode Island's policy of graduation by proficiency with a student developed digitalized portfolio beginning with the primary grades through to graduation. I would direct readers to the CCSSO EdSteps project with a remarkable new way to collect a national pool of student work. Authentic dynamic assessments are emerging in pockets and in classrooms around the country. Let's surface them prominently and especially those that are geared toward 2020. Curriculum 21 calls for upgrading on all levels- one replacement at a time. Are our student assessments reflecting moderns forms of media and contemporary issues? Some argue that new forms diminish the traditional skills, I disagree. If our students are engaged then we will see better quality basics. We can and must show reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills- whether in a web 2.0 application or creating a documentary. If a student cannot read, he or she cannot read a computer screen. The great fundamentals of the past need to be lifted into 2011.
On our C-21 Clearinghouse at the Curriculum 21 website we have posted open access tagged interactive tools for educators to try new approaches to engage their learners. We see this also as an opportunity to update assessment practice as well. (For example: Take a look at gapminder and see how you might use it to engage your students in meeting an array of standards.) We are beginning a new project with ASCD on collecting upgraded projects from teachers around the world to share and to inspire us all moving forward. We will keep you posted on this one!
We need to choose our century. The students have chosen theirs.
First of all, happy holidays and best wishes for a great 2011! This week, we’ve been counting down the top five education trends for 2011. We’ve explored bullying and cyberbullying, common core standards, teacher effectiveness and evaluation, and differentiated instruction. Today we conclude our countdown to 2011 with a post that explores our number one theme: 21st century skills.
Without a doubt, the explosion of technological advancement in the last 15 years has not only significantly impacted education, but also every aspect of our existence—business, government, geopolitics, leisure, arts, and the list goes on. Consider that in the past 15 years alone, Internet and wireless technology developments have created (and also wiped out) thousands of businesses, introduced new communication styles and tools, and changed everything from the way we access information to the way we talk, buy, and interact in general.
As we reflect on all the technological changes we’ve seen in the last decade and a half, we must also learn to view education through a new lens. We need to crucially reevaluate what needs to change—that is, how and what we teach, what students learn, and which skills are most important for children’s futures. After all, 21st century learning isn’t just about technology, but also about developing global perspectives and myriad skills including critical thinking, collaboration, and problem solving that students will need to master the 21st century workplace. Our member, community, and customer surveys made clear that 21st century skills is a topic that requires further discussion in educator circles. This is certainly an indication of the shift in focus for our education world.
It’s up to us to define what effective teaching in the 21st century classroom will entail. Heidi Hayes Jacobs opens her bestselling book Curriculum 21 by asking readers, “What year are you preparing your students for? 1973? 1995? Can you honestly say you’re preparing your students for 2015 or 2020?” As educators and members of the education community continue to pour time and effort into helping students achieve the best results, Jacobs’s questions are important to keep in mind.
As we head into 2011, here are additional resources and sessions scheduled to take place during ASCD’s 2011 Annual Conference and Exhibit Show in San Francisco, Calif. We hope you will take advantage of them in your quest to continue moving forward with 21st century learning objectives and using technology effectively in the classroom. Please keep the conversation going on Facebook and Twitter by sharing your individual experiences or additional resources with us and colleagues using the #ASCD5 hashtag.
We at ASCD want to wish you much luck in the coming year as you continue to overcome the challenges presented by our high-reward line of work. We will continue to offer support in 2011 through our newsletters, books, conferences, policy initiatives, professional development offerings, and additional resources. As always, please let us know if you have comments or thoughts and, last but not least, happy new year!
Other Resources from ASCD
Sessions at the 2011 ASCD Annual Conference and Exhibit Show
The ASCD EDge Team
I was given a challenge to UPGRADE the genre of a keynote address by a dynamic planning committee for a global conference. I loved the challenge and thank them for helping me grow. The theme of their conference is INVENTIONS in TEACHING, the logo for the conference displays the image of Ben Franklin, kite in tow, discovering "electricity". This logo is perfect for this group. Let me elaborate....
CROSS LINKED to Curriculum 21 Site below:
These are images of some of the award winning international new school architectural designs from Design Share. They have featured our new ASCD book Curriculum 21: Essential Education for a Changing World on their website. When I was doing research for the book I learned of the work of this exciting and forward thinking group. For ideas and inspiration about new spaces that emerge from both industrial and developing countries go to their site: http://www.designshare.com