Friday, March 31, 2017

The Problem with Relying Too Heavily on Scores

In some places, all that matters is the scores. And we all know that one way to get good scores is to teach to the middle and the top as they will skew the scores in an advantageous direction. Yet, is this right or good--I think not. Instead I believe it's best to teach to all students in ways that matter.

As we think of the way young children progress towards mastery, we notice multiple, varying paths that require differing levels of time, repetition, modality, and more. There truly are some students who are "quick studies." They learn in the snap of your fingers, but there are others that take lots of time and repetition to learn a skill or perhaps demonstrate that skill. To rush those students along is only to potentially demean them. We know that positivity, encouragement, and success lead to greater learning, so why build programs that teach to some and not others.

It's imperative that we begin to look carefully at what each and every child needs, and match our program paths to those needs. Too many assessments, drill, and not enough time for meaningful learning will do that to children.

One-size-fits-all curricula generally does not serve children well, yet there's room for some same learning and activity for all children.

I watched Jo Boaler's new TedTalk today. It was so inspiring. As I've noted before her research proves what so many good teachers everywhere believe in.