Educators have been inundated with news articles and media posts focused on the amount of “learning loss” that students have experienced since the requirement to close on-campus learning in March of 2020. While some schools were able to fully return to onsite instruction for the ‘20-’21 school year, others were required to remain fully virtual and many offered hybrid approaches to learning. Even those who were able to return to a face-to-face environment experienced times of entire school or class quarantines, emergency returns to virtual learning, and staff shortages due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With those challenges came the necessity for educators to learn to teach their subject areas across many platforms while also taking on the task of investigating new technologies and addressing safety concerns for themselves, their families and their students. Are there gaps in student learning? Absolutely. But certainly not for a lack of blood, sweat, and millions of tears by every educator in our field. Read more
The Secret Ingredient to Effective Interventions: Students’ Perceptions
When students know they are getting additional time and support for learning essential standards, sometimes referred to as intervention, do they see it as a punishment? Does it contribute to their perceptions of themselves as a “low” achiever? If so, we have a problem. Brookhart (2013) and Moss (2013) cite confidence as a key indicator of achievement. If students have confidence, they are more likely to persevere when they don’t immediately know how to do something. Confidence is the thing that will help students see possibility and hope (Moss & Brookhart, 2012). It’s this intrinsic state of being that will ensure interventions lead to high achievement. Read more
Are Essential Standards a Part of the Assessment Process?
As I’ve worked with teams across the country in developing and using assessments, I’ve heard some interesting beliefs about essential standards (e.g., “We’re not allowed to do this in our district,” or “Our curriculum only requires us to teach the essential standards”). Comments like these have convinced me that there are lots of educators who have misconceptions about the first of the four essential questions we ask a collaborative team in a PLC to answer. That question is: “What do we want our students to know and do?” Read more
How Close are We?
Several years ago as an instructional coach in a district new to the work of collaborative teams in a professional learning community, I learned we should calibrate our grading of common assessments. I decided to ask our Algebra teachers if they would be willing to take on this task. My request was met with resistance as the teachers explained to me it was an unnecessary use of time since they had already worked together to write the test and had even determined how many points each question was worth and typed those points on the side of each item. I offered to bring donuts and a couple of student samples if they would agree to score a test together. They finally gave in. Read more