Byron's Babbles

The Leadership Symphony

IMG_1279Well, I have come to the end of another book. Actually this is the completion of my 84th book this year. My goal is 87. It has actually taken me a year to complete this book as it is divided in 52 distinct lessons. I have tweeted about many of them. I will do a post about the book as a whole and include the posts, but for now want to post thoughts on the 52nd lesson. In lesson #52 entitled “What Makes A Symphony” in 52 Leadership Lessons: Timeless Stories For The Modern Leader by John Parker Stewart he tells us how the conductor brings individual musicians together to form the playing of the symphony.

“A symphony consists of polished performances from many sections that become a unified whole. If not played together it is merely a cacophony of disconnected sounds.” ~ John Parker Stewart

This chapter really resonated with me as a believe in shared, intent-based, leadership. Everyone is a leader and has a part. But, there still must be a leader who is conveying the shared vision and making sure the musicians, in the case of a symphony, have the necessary professional development to do their part.

IMG_1273This point was driven home this morning in the last general session of the annual conference of the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE). The keynote was delivered by Dr. Pedro Noguera. He is the Distinguished Professor of Education at the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies at UCLA. His research focuses on the way in which schools are influenced by social and economic conditions, as well as by demographic trends in local, regional, and global contexts. In his keynote, Dr. Noguera gave five strategies for successful school leadership:

  1. Shared leadership
  2. Concerted effort to obtain buy-in around the strategy
  3. A coherent strategy focused on student needs
  4. Differentiated professional development
  5. Follow through, examining the evidence, sticking with it

“Only a clearly communicated perspective, directed by a wise and capable leader, results in a magnificent performance. ~ John Parker Stewart

The big takeaways for me and relations to this 52nd lesson were the idea of shared IMG_1277leadership, coherent strategy, and differentiation. As I said earlier, every person in an organization is a leader. As in a symphony, every person has an important part no matter their job or instrument. Additionally, in a symphony everyone needs to be playing from the same musical score, or strategic plan. And, finally, since everyone one plays different instruments or has different jobs or is playing/working at a different level of proficiency, the development must be differentiated.

img_2431The bottom line is that shared leadership an drive change. If, as a leader, we are the conductor, we must bring everyone together sharing the leadership of a coherent strategy. We know, for example, in schools we must invest in teacher leadership by developing leadership pipelines. This involves cultivating structures, processes, and mindsets for shared leadership. We must also prioritize and enhance instructional leadership skills. What are the priorities of your industry or organization?

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I Have Paid For An Education With My Mistakes

This past week was one of my favorite weeks of the year. I spent the week at the Boone County Fair (Lebanon, Indiana) showing Jersey dairy cows with my son. This is incredible dad and lad time. The county fair is the time of year when I get to see friends and visit with former students. It is great to catch up. One visit I look forward to every year is with Andy Clark, a Lebanon graduate I had in many classes and one of my favorites and great ones. This year, like clock work, Andy showed up with his wife and kids and we sat at our dairy stalls and talked for a couple of hours. I blogged about last year’s visit in “Matching School Work To Real Work.” Click here to read that post. 

During our conversation this year I was struck by his comment of “I Have Paid For An Education With My Mistakes.” This is the true mindset of a lifelong learner and someone who has a growth mindset. Andy supplies chopped hay and straw to Fair Oaks Dairy in northern Indiana as part of his farming operation. We talked a lot about how he learns, researches, experiments, and iterates to make his operation successful, efficient, and profitable. I could not be prouder of what Andy has accomplished and the great leader he has become.

Andy really gets what it means to be continually learning and to work toward continual improvement. He is an example of what we must be making sure we prepare our students to be ready for. As we work in Indiana to create worthwhile graduation pathways we must make sure we are providing the correct avenues for students, like Andy, who are going straight into he workforce with careers. Research shows that students are nervous about making any mistakes — but with a little encouragement by teachers, they begin to take risks, and growth by leaps and bounds. On the other hand, other students who were so anxious about making mistakes they would not take any risks at all, and the research showed their anxiety slowed the process of their learning.

Mistakes play a powerful role in learning, as well as the huge influence that the teacher’s attitude and feedback play on a child’s perspective on mistakes. We need to help students become comfortable with mistakes and help them learn how to grow from them. This is difficult to do for some because despite the fact that making mistakes seems to be a part of who we are, mistakes are still not readily accepted. We act like they didn’t happen. We blame someone else. We feel embarrassed. But this isn’t how mistakes should be viewed — especially in schools. I would assert that Andy should be an example for adults, too.

I would argue whether you are a grown adult or are a school age child and you don’t make any mistakes, then you aren’t really learning anything new. School, especially, is the one place that’s all about learning. It’s the one place where mistakes should be not only accepted, but expected.

Why should mistakes be an expected part of learning? If students, who then become our workforce, entrepreneurs, and future leaders, don’t learn early on how to handle them on their own, if they are regularly rescued by well-meaning teachers and parents, then they won’t develop the skills needed to tackle difficult things or bounce back from setbacks. Skills like perseverance and gumption. 

Despite the rhetoric around mistakes being necessary for learning, I believe it is rare that you truly see mistakes embraced and celebrated as learning opportunities. We must learn from individuals like Andy that learning from mistakes is an important part of being successful. In most schools, “success” is defined as getting high marks on tests, with results (and minimal or no mistakes) mattering more than the process of learning or the process of getting to the answer. And when the results aren’t good? Students feel embarrassed or shamed. We need to change this. 

We must create environments in our schools, businesses, and organizations where everyone see mistakes not as impenetrable roadblocks, but rather as a natural part of the learning process. Have you received an education from your mistakes? 

Cultivating Student Success

26afa71ed72a2063737bb720421104c8I was so moved by a video I watched as part of my Harvard class I am in right now, that I wanted to share a blog post response to it. Here is the link to “The Gardener”: https://youtu.be/ktj4jGmUs6Y . Take a moment to watch the video, I’ll bet you will be inspired and moved as much as me.

This Allegorical Story drove home why students perceive a lack of justice, lack of equity, or disparate treatment for certain racial groups. When students see their schools as unfair places, their loss of trust will lead to lack of engagement. Using the metaphor of the video, we need to not be creating different growing conditions (soil fertility) for our students. Black and Hispanic students, who often take the brunt of inconsistencies in schools, are then less likely to trust their white peers. We must create policies that show our students we value and expect equity.

Additionally, we must help and provide growth opportunities for staff to not let the “two flower pots” effect happen in the first place. These teacher/student relationships are key to breaking cycles of inequity. Finally, we must ensure interactions between students and educators that prove the school has high standards and expectations for all students. We must also ensure students that all at the school believe in the potential of all students – especially our underachieving and school dependent children.

Schools For All Citizens

fileOn this President’s Day, 2017, I am reminded that there are those who believe people are now judged by the content of their character rather than the color of their skin. I want to believe this too, but know that the question of race runs much deeper than this. Others would contest that racial identity still strongly influences many aspects of their lives in American society. The question that is still causing me pause is “How do we reconcile such opposing opinions?” Furthermore, I need to make sure that I constantly remember to consider that all students have tremendous potential and most, regardless of race, are school dependent, and underachievers. Additionally, I really believe that many of the staff I serve, again regardless of race, have huge potential and many times are underachievers. I have a strong belief that race does not cause achievement differences, but how we structure the education and the pedagogy we use for teaching.

The real problem is low quality instruction for classes of lower skilled, underachieving students. Differentiated teaching is very difficult and presents a challenge to mixed ability groupings. Equity for me means that we are making sure that every student has the same high quality instruction. It also means that I continue to learn and remove my own and the school’s as a system implicit biases to make sure we are not grouping students incorrectly and making sure we are meeting the student where he/she is. As a school leader I must remember the school as a workplace is the most important place for teacher training/learning/and induction.

When discussing equity in education I believe we must first address the difference between equality and equity. I believe the definitions set forth by the Center for Public Education (2016) do an adequate job of capturing what I believe and read: Equality in education is achieved when students are all treated the same and have access to similar resources. Equity is achieved when all students receive the resources they need so they graduate prepared for success after high school. It is very important to recognize that equality and equity are not the same thing. When dealing with issues of equity we need to use data driven decision making and transparency as keys to success. I also believe we need to shift school and district level foci to external benchmarks as points of comparison, instead of inter-group comparisons in the home community. One of the pieces of the Every Student Succeeds Act that I really value is the breaking out and analyzation of more sub-groups.

“One fundamental aim of our democracy is to provide an adequate education for every person. Our educational systems face a financial crisis. It is deplorable that in a Nation as rich as ours there are millions of children who do not have adequate schoolhouses or enough teachers for a good elementary or secondary education. If there are educational inadequacies in any State, the whole Nation suffers. The Federal Government has a responsibility for providing financial aid to meet this crisis.

In addition, we must make possible greater equality of opportunity to all our citizens for education. Only by so doing can we insure that our citizens will be capable of understanding and sharing the responsibilities of democracy.

The Government’s programs for health, education, and security are of such great importance to our democracy that we should now establish an executive department for their administration.” ~ President Harry S. Truman in his 1948 State of the Union message to Congress , Jan 7, 1948.

I do not believe we have gotten to where President Truman wanted us to be in terms of education. It is interesting to me we have researched, written and debated about for years the problems of race, poverty, and public education. These issues have been studied by academics and fueled by talk radio, television, and politicians which serves as a place for us as citizens to argue, debate, and complain about who is right or wrong and who needs to change. All of this has caused me think about the questions of race as related to education and see that what we now call problems are simply symptoms of something deeper.

What I believe we need to be asking is about a breakdown in our communities and education, not viewing as a problem. If we think of race as a problem then we will only be looking for symptoms. Instead we need to be thinking about what is possible and what can we create together. If we continue to look at education in the context of a set of problems to be solved, we may actually limit any chance of the future being different from the past. We need to be having the courageous conversations as a community to develop ways in which all school dependent children are provided the opportunities needed in a great education.

I believe that community health, educational achievement, local economic strength, and other measures of community well-being are dependent on the level of social capital that exists in a community. We need to create communities where citizens have the experience of being connected to those around them and knows that their safety and success are dependent on the success of all others. I believe as Peter Block does that “A shift in the thinking and actions of citizens is more vital than a shift in the thinking and action of institutions and formal leaders” (Block, 2009, p. 31). We need to continue to find ways to bring communities of people together to work for continuous improvement of our schools and the systems with which we evaluate those schools.

Reference

Block, Peter (2009-09-01). Community: The Structure of Belonging (p. 31). Berrett-Koehler Publishers. Kindle Edition.

 

We Have To Norm That…

We had a great norming session today for our teacher evaluation team. This has been an important monthly retreat for making sure the team is doing all they can to help our teachers on their journey of continuous improvement. Norming helps us to unpack the nuances of teaching practices that have the greatest potential for improving student achievement. 

Our norming sessions prompt teachers and administrators to engage in professional conversations that make the critical link between teaching and the supports that teachers need to improve and hone their skills. This common understanding is the basis for high-quality evaluation systems that can drive professional growth. Our goal is to help all teachers grow throughout their careers. 

We believe teachers and administrators need a common language and vision about what constitutes effective practice. Being able to identify and  articulate these practices allows administrators to assess teachers and provide them with feedback on their strengths and areas for growth.

Here are our graphic notes I created from our norming session today:

I Count You Twice!

Today is Thanksgiving – a joyous and festive kickoff to the holiday season. Many of us have a lot to be thankful for, including family and friends, and I’m especially thankful that I’m able to serve as a leader making significant strides in education. I also very thankful for all those I work with, serve, or have associations with. I am particularly thankful for all teachers who put in on the line every day for our sons and daughters. Please know that when I count my blessings I count you twice!

During this holiday season, take time to reflect on what you are thankful for. While we have many improvements to make in our educational community, and always will, we have many things to be thankful for. 

Education options are more flexible than ever. Not too many years ago, proximity and zip code was a crucial part of education. If you didn’t live near a school, you were unlikely to have any access to it. The ability to have choices had made all the difference for huge numbers of our children and adults. 

Today, we are more connected to k-12 and postsecondary education than ever before. There are evening classes, online options for both secondary and traditional college programs, and certificate programs for people who want to learn a specific set of skills or continue their professional growth. 

As I reflect this morning on my education, both past and present, I am thankful that I was taught to think critically, solve problems creatively, analyze and be open to the world around us, and most importantly how to learn. I believe it is important for us to remember that it is during our education we learn our sense of community.  Within a school setting, a child quickly learns the importance of teamwork and cooperation. A school requires a joint effort to be safe and clean. That’s when our children learn first-hand that everyone can make a difference and everyone’s efforts are important. 

I am also thankful schools don’t just teach our children academic curriculum. Schools are also helping our children develop into respectful global citizens. It is at school that our children are presented with life lessons they may not have learned at home.providing our children with lessons in acceptance. Our children are learning that not everyone speaks the same language, wears the same types of clothes, or eats the same types of foods at lunches. And that’s all okay. Our children are learning to take time to truly understand others and embrace who they are. 

While our education system certainly has room for improvement across multiple factors, I believe we need to be thankful for all the great things happening in education. 

Your Life’s Journey Is Your Education

The Education of Henry AdamsThe Education of Henry Adams by Henry Adams

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book really caused me to do a great deal of reflection about education and my own education in particular. As a believer in lifelong learning, Adams assured me that investing in learning at any point in life is a sound investment. His teachings also made me reflect on the fact that living life is an education in and of itself. We need to make sure we are using the context in which we live and all the experiences to learn at the highest level. How do we do this? I believe we can learn from Adams that it is ok that we are ignorant at every new turn in life and that we need to begin learning from everyone and every experience we have. If I were to sum up the book in one statement it would be, “Your life’s journey is your education.”

In this book, Henry Adams is not talking about himself as much as he is of the education and the context in which he lived provided an education. Adams serves as the narrator in this book. At the writing he is in his late sixties and refers to himself in the third person. This is an interesting way to read an autobiography that I am not sure I like, but I got used to it. Sometimes his referring to himself in third person made it made it hard to follow, but in the context of making living life our education this was probably the right way to do it. In his “Preface,” he introduces the metaphor of a manikin, which represents Henry Adams. The various garments draped across the manikin represent his education. It was this metaphor and how all events proved learning that I formed the opinion that Adams believed in lifelong learning. He continually refers to his ignorance, which told me he was of a growth mindset long before the development of the “growth mindset” theory.

Adams tells his readers that any young man seeking education should expect no more from his teacher than the mastery of his tools. Leaning on the scientific approach that he develops in the education, he suggests that the student is merely a mass of energy. The education he seeks is a way to economize that energy. The training by the instructor is a manner of clearing obstacles from the path of the student. My take on Adams’ position is that a person’s life in its entirety is our education.

Adams wrote, “Probably no child, born in the year, held better cards than he.” Adams also told us that the world he lived was rapidly changing – as it does for all of us. It is a world of contrasts. It was this contrast that Adams used throughout the book to discuss his education. In the book Adams states that as yet he knows nothing. Even after graduating from Harvard, he did not believe his education had begun. My sense is he believed in learning by doing and being the person in the arena. Here are some of my favorite quotes from the book:

– The Ego has … become a manikin on which the toilet of education is to be draped in order to show the fit or misfit of the clothes. The object of study is the garment, not the figure.

– Nothing in education is so astonishing as the amount of ignorance it accumulates in the form of inert facts.

– The object of education for that mind should be the teaching itself how to react with vigor and economy. No doubt the world at large will always lag so far behind the active mind as to make a soft cushion of inertia to drop upon, as it did for Henry Adams; but education should try to lessen the obstacles, diminish the friction, invigorate the energy, and should train minds to react, not at haphazard, but by choice, on the lines of force that attract their world.

And… my favorite of all the quotes: “Man does not concern himself with understanding how discoveries can be used. He will let the discovery show him how.” I really believe this reinforces my theory that Adams believed that our life’s journey is our education. How would you write the autobiography of your education? What do you need to be doing in your context to have it read how you would like it to? This book will cause you to reflect.

~ Dr. Byron L. Ernest

View all my reviews

Social Complexity 

For each of the last two days I blogged about Dynamic Complexity and Generative Complexity respectively. My inspiration for these posts has been the book by Adam Kahane titled Solving Tough Problems: An Open Way of Talking, Listening, and Creating New Realities. I feel compelled to write about the third complexity he offered in the book: Social Complexity. As Kahane (2004) taught us: “[S]ocial complexity requires us to talk not just with people who see things the same way we do, but especially with those who see things differently, even those we don’t like. We must stretch way beyond our comfort zone” (p. 75). Wow, how true this is. Think about this for a minute; how many times when trying to solve complex issues do we really listen to those who think differently, see the world differently, or just flat-out don’t like us? 

“Roughly, by a complex system I mean one made up of a large number of parts that interact in a nonsimple way. In such systems, the whole is more than the sum of the parts, not in an ultimate, metaphysical sense, but in the important pragmatic sense that, given the properties of the parts and the laws of their interaction, it is not a trivial matter to infer the properties of the whole. In the face of complexity, an in-principle reductionist may be at the same time a pragmatic holist.” ~  Herbert Simon in his 1962 article, “The Architecture of Complexity.”

I look at social complexity as being complicated by the very nature that we cannot provide a simple model of the system that adds up and makes sense of, or can predict the independent behaviors of the parts; rather, the parts are influenced in their behaviors by the behaviors of other people, groups, organization, governments, or even populations. This is in contrast with the simple system of an internal combustion engine. It might seem very complex, but really it is simple because every part, both moving and not, has a function and order in which to do that function.

In a spark ignition engine, the fuel is mixed with air and then inducted into the cylinder during the intake process. After the piston compresses the fuel-air mixture, the spark ignites it, causing combustion. The expansion of the combustion gases pushes the piston during the power stroke. In a diesel engine, only air is inducted into the engine and then compressed. Diesel engines then spray the fuel into the hot compressed air at a suitable, measured rate, causing it to ignite. This all very hierarchical in that everything happens in a specific order that never changes.

Let’s now contrast this with the social complexity and causal processes (sub-systems) that make up our education system. And consider some aggregate properties we may be interested in such as state law and policy, federal law and policy, political dynamics, local community social differences, socio-economic factors, race, mobility, or the social and emotional needs of our students to just name a few. Some of the processes that influence these properties are designed (Every Student Succeeds Act, school boards {both state and local}, school management systems), but many are not. Instead, they are the result of separate and non-teleological processes leading to the present. And there is often a high degree of causal interaction among these separate processes. As a result, it might be more reasonable to expect that social systems are likely to embody greater complexity and less decomposability than systems like an internal combustion engine.

“To create new realities, we have to listen reflectively. It is not enough to be able to hear clearly the chorus of other voices; we must also hear the contribution of our own voice. It is not enough to be able to see others in the picture of what is going on; we must also see what others are doing. It is not enough to be observers of the problem situation; we must recognize ourselves as actors who influence the outcome.” ~ Adam Kahane

This reminds me of a legislative panel I am on right now to look at and make recommendations to our state legislature on our high stakes summative state testing (required by the Every Student Succeeds Act – ESSA). This committee is made up of 23 different individuals and appointed by different entities. My appointment comes as being the representative of the Indiana State Board of Education. Needless to say, we have lots of social complexity. Needless to say it has been awkward and tenuous navigating on this panel. Here are some things I have learned from Kahane (2004) to help us as leaders:

  • To solve a complex problem, we have to immerse ourselves in and open up to its full complexity.
  • Our core tasks need to be to “widen the circle” and “deepen the bench.”
  • Tough problems can only be solved if people talk openly, and in many situations this takes real courage.
  • Listen openly. 

I close with Kahane’s (2004) definition of listening: [T]he process of taking in something new and being unsettled and changed by it” (p. 69). I ask you: Are you a leader who listens?

References

Kahane, A. (2004). Solving tough problems: An open way of talking, listening, and creating new realities. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler.

Career Readiness for All?

indexI had the privilege of meeting and hearing from Dr. Nancy Hoffman of Jobs for the Future yesterday at our fourth Panel to Study Alternatives to the ISTEP+ Program Test. Our objective of having Dr. Hoffman was to discuss how we assess career readiness under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). I really saw a great deal of the value in the information she was presenting to us and wanted to share. Here are some facts she started with:

  • The unemployment rate among Hoosiers age 16 to 19 year old is about 15%.
  • Missing out on jobs during the late tees can have negative effects throughout a person’s working life.
  • A young person who doesn’t get work experience between 16 and 19 is missing a major developmental experience.
  • The economy suffers because of the above bullet points.

I was also struck by the idea of disconnected youth: those who are not in school or working – “have lower wages and marriage rates, higher incarceration and unemployment rates, worse health, less job satisfaction, and eve less happiness as adults than people who did not experience youth disconnection. Just as early successes breed optimism, early setbacks plant the seeds of hopelessness.”

“It’s not just about young people: The economy needs prepared young people.” ~ Dr. Nancy Hoffman

  • Far too many young people complete a postsecondary degree/credential.
  • STEM fields hold promise; employers struggle to find skilled employees.
  • High school is not working for far too many young people
  • Careers increasingly require postsecondary education and work readiness skills and experience.
  • Education workforce, and economic development are inextricably connected.

“In my utopia, all high school students would have a structured work experience – just as 70% of young people do in Switzerland.” ~ Dr. Nancy Hoffman

Indiana is ahead of most states in having a law requiring career readiness activities starting in elementary school. Indiana has a career readiness definition which includes all students. Additionally, Indiana has career exploration courses. We provide Career and Technical Education (CTE) dual enrollment and we have strong CTE results.

Here are some questions that states need to be asking and addressing:

  1. What is the state’s definition of career readiness?
  2. Does the state want to focus on all students or exclusively CTE students?
  3. Are college and career preparation the same or different?
  4. How should various options be valued and weighed?

Indiana Assessment Vision

IMG_0553Yesterday, we had our third legislative panel meeting studying alternatives to the ISTEP Program Test. This is part of our working toward the assessment plan under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) for Indiana. One of the things we worked on yesterday was the vision statement of the group. Using suggestions from panel members, the panel legislative staff came up with the following draft statement:

“Indiana looks to design an assessment system that is student-centered and provides meaningful and timely information to educators and parents on both a student’s on-grade proficiency level and growth toward Indiana’s College and Career Ready standards. The assessment needs to be viable, reliable, research-based, and meet the requirements of both state and federal law, while meeting the needs of all students across Indiana.”

Now, being the vision guru I am, I immediately realized it did not meet the 35 words or less rule of thumb. I did, however, quickly underline what I thought were the most important parts of the vision statement that our panel needed to do to meet the needs of our students, families, and schools (I have underlined above). Here are the points:

  • student-centered
  • meaningful
  • timely
  • information to educators and parents
  • on-grade proficiency level and growth

I suggested we eliminate the last sentence, “The assessment needs to be viable, reliable, research-based, and meet the requirements of both state and federal law, while meeting the needs of all students across Indiana.” because I do not believe it is at all visionary to be valid, reliable, researched based and meeting the letter of the law. We have that obligation to Indiana and the federal government through ESSA. We don’t need a vision for that.

So, my proposed vision statement would be:

“Indiana looks to design an assessment system that is student-centered* and provides meaningful and timely information to educators and parents on both a student’s on-grade proficiency level and growth toward Indiana’s College and Career Ready standards.”

You will notice the * with student-centered. I believe we should have a definition for student-centered following the vision statement. For me, that definition could be:

*A Student-centered assessment system, which includes student performance, academic growth, and multiple measures, sets challenging items and tasks that are intended to encourage deep learning and create a sense of high expectations and mutual accountability.

Then, I believe it is even more important to develop a set of belief statements associated to this process. I took pieces from what individuals submitted as vision statements to make a list of possible belief statements. I really believe that many of what panel members submitted were belief statements, not vision statements. This was a good things because we should have belief statements guiding our work.

Here is the list I came up with:

  • New assessment must be implemented with fidelity
  • Timely results
  • Empowers students, parents, educators, and administrators
  • Includes college and career readiness metric
  • Meets the needs of all students
  • Cost effective
  • Accurately assesses students’ learning and growth over time
  • Takes less time away from instruction and learning
  • Equity for all students in how they take the assessment (technology/modality)

So, put all together, here’s what my draft would look like:

“Indiana looks to design an assessment system that is student-centered* and provides meaningful and timely information to educators and parents on both a student’s on-grade proficiency level and growth toward Indiana’s College and Career Ready standards.”

*A Student-centered assessment system, which includes student performance, academic growth, and multiple measures, sets challenging items and tasks that are intended to encourage deep learning and create a sense of high expectations and mutual accountability.

Indiana’s new assessment system must:

 

  • be implemented with fidelity.
  • provide timely results.
  • empower students, parents, educators, and administrators.
  • include college and career readiness metric.
  • meets the needs of all students.
  • be cost effective.
  • accurately assesses students’ learning and growth over time.
  • take less time away from instruction and learning.
  • provide equity for all students in how they take the assessment (technology/modality).

 

Because ESSA requires us to have a summative assessment in grades 3-8 and a high school component our conversation must shift from all the chatter about whether wanting to test or not or whether it is right to test. Really, that is irrelevant. What is important is that we make sure all of our stakeholders understand “why” assessment is happening and exactly how the data will be used. I believe we are on the right track to developing a vision and belief statements that can drive this work. I would love to hear feedback on additional belief statements or edits to make the belief statement suggestions better.