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Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Standards Squeeze

It's a bit of a squeeze as we work to review all standards prior to MCAS tests. These tests present a challenge to teachers particularly when students need greater repetition and review of both past standards and new standards to reach mastery. What's a teacher to do?

The best that I can do is to expose all students to all standards and give them lots of chances to reach mastery with classroom practice, educator support, online practice, and at-home study. Students come to us with varied needs, learning dispositions, and interests, and educators like me do what we can to inspire students' best attention, commitment, and learning routines and habits. We know every child is capable of learning and do what we can to lead each child ahead with expected standards, mindsets, and abilities.

I continue to find myself on the fence with regard to how I feel about these standards and assessments. In some ways the standards and assessments provide a roadmap for learning and teaching, but on the other hand, the rate we're expected to cover the standards with simply does not allow for the depth or repetition needed to master standards. There's a balance to be had here, and perhaps that balance will result in greater use of progressive tests that test students where they are to determine growth and knowledge rather than one-size-fits-all tests for students of particular ages. We know that many factors affect the rate with which children learn, and with one-size-fits-all tests we cannot be as sensitive to those factors which ultimately affects students' confidence and future commitment and progress.