Showing posts from February, 2019

Hitting Targets, but Missing the Point? Take Stock & Make Adjustments...but Don't Delay!

In his 2016 NYT editorial How Measurement Fails Doctors and Teachers , Robert M. Wachter describes how medicine and education (“our most human and sacred fields”) have taken measurement and data-based decision making too far too fast. Measuring health and learning, it turns out, is far more complex than calculating quarterly profits. “The focus on numbers has gone too far,” Wachter argues. “We’re hitting the targets, but missing the point.” What an apt description of many Vermont schools in the Age of Act 77 & Education Quality Standards (EQS), which require that all high school seniors, starting next school year, graduate from a proficiency-based school system, using their Personalized Learning Plans (PLP) to meet proficiencies set by their local school system. Next year’s deadline has many Vermont educators, especially in our high schools, scrambling to comply with these connected mandates. Proficiency-Based Graduation Requirements? Check. PLP for all? Check. New grading syste

Why Should We (& How Can We) Engage Students in the Assessment Process?

Today I’m kicking off Teachable Moments: Timely Mini-lessons & Practical Resources for the Time-Starved Teacher . Each Teachable Moments blogpost will include a short slide show / voice over to frame the topic, along with suggestions for how to use a few practical resources (included below) to apply. The Cover Page This is what the original cover page looked liked when my Bread Loaf professor, John Warnock, first asked me / my peers to complete one. Here’s a modified cover page that you can adapt to any product students are working on. Please make a copy and adapt this for you and your students’ needs. Simple Google Survey Consider regularly inviting your learners to share with you what’s working, what needs work, and what can be done about it. So simple. So effective. When Students Track Their Progress Short piece by Robert Marzano that describes the powerful impact of having students join us in tracking their learning. Such a simple way to get students mor

The Why, What, and How of Learning Scales

Why Learning Scales? In their remarkable book, Made to Stick , the Heath brothers describe a compelling and instructive experiment. Participants are divided into two groups, the tappers and the listeners. The tappers study a list of well-known American tunes (Happy Birthday to You, The Star Spangled Banner, etc.) and practice tapping out the melodies. Each listener then pairs up with a tapper, who taps out the melody of a song and then waits for the listener to name that tune. The tappers predict that the listeners will correctly guess 50% of the songs. But the listeners only correctly guess 2.5% of the songs. Why? It’s pretty simple. The tappers (teachers) forget they have the entire tune playing in their heads as they tap, and the listeners (students) do not. The listeners, according to the Heath brothers, hear a kind of “bizarre Morse Code”, while the tappers hear the whole score. Ironically, teachers’ expertise--the very trait that enables them to become teachers--can bli