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Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Today's Teaching Focus: May 2017

Students will continue assessments today, then they'll study in the library and tech lab. After that they'll focus in on science content as they ready for more assessments.

During the big assessment time, the objective is to keep students motivated and positive. For some the assessments are no big deal--they know the standards and are ready to show what they know. For others the lengthy assessment period is more troubling as these students for a number of reasons are not as ready for these many tests and the prolonged assessment period is troubling.

While I remain a fan of streamlined assessments, I believe that the assessments should be progressive which means you test at the level you are at. Educators know the level and work to raise your skill, concept, and knowledge foundation consistently. A more progressive approach would give students who are years behind the curriculum expectation a chance to catch up in ways that are realistic, enjoyable, and consistent with what is good learning and teaching. I recognize that we don't want to get stuck in a spiral of lower expectations for some, and we would have to work against this with a progressive assessment system.

Current grade-level tests are greatly influenced by many factors that lie outside of school such as class, academic at-home support, time/money for extra supports, consistency, health, and more.

In the meantime though the tests are grade-level, and I'll continue to look for meaningful ways to prepare students for good learning and acquisition of the standards set. Fortunately most students are ready for the grade-level standards where I teach--in general it is a privileged school community where students enjoy considerable support and joyful learning environments.

My team is working well to make the final weeks of school meaningful, enjoyable, and purposeful for students. The assessments are followed by many worthwhile projects and special events that will support student learning until the final days of the year. This is very positive.

Now it's time to get ready so that I can be there when the "morning masters" come in early to choose the kinds of learning they want to embark in during the optional morning masters period. Onward.