Rliberni's Blog – Radical language

September 21, 2010

How Do We Create Standards to Assess All Schools Equally?

#Edchat  9-14-2010 – 18:00 CET 12 PM EST

Firstly, apologies to Jo Ann and all edchatters for the delay in this summary. If you’ve been following my twitter stream you will know that I have major internet problems at present due to my phone cable! I am hopeful it will be resolved soon (5 days and counting!) However this tardiness in no way detracts from the quality of a wonderful summary provided for us by JoAnn Jacobs (@@JoAnnJ68). She has created a very thorough and enlivened report of the edchat discussion! Thank you JoAnn 🙂 (see JoAnn’s bio at the end of the post)

This is my first summary and it’s an honor to be asked.  This week’s question produced a great amount of traffic and comments from a group of educators that are passionate about their life’s work.  I believe there are three key words and of course, these became very apparent during the discussion.  They are Standards, Assessment, and Equality all which can be interpreted in a multitude of ways.  This being said, there were many questions as to what might be assessed and how that assessment would take place and what does it all mean? What is the definition of equality and how can we truly be equal?  Are standards in the way of real life teaching?

Many of the contributors felt the kids were being short-changed by a system that did not value who they are, allow them to progress at their own rate, or recognize innate talents that they possess.  A reoccurring question was how can we assure children succeed in the classroom and in life and if we differentiate, as we should, why doesn’t it seem to matter?  Then there is the government/politicians who feel they have the right to make blanket judgements about how we educate children.

There were also questions as far as can we fix our own system, scrap it and start again, or adopt another that might be more global in scope. As usual, money is a huge factor and also a great divider of schools and what they can provide for students and since this is a fact, why are we comparing to begin with?

In order to truly gather the essence of the discussion I decided to post comments/questions that I thought to be essential or thought-provoking for each of the key words and also comments that were especially insightful. They maybe some cross over but that’s to be expected.

Thanks to Shell for facilitating this chat which still could be going on and should be.

JoAnn Jacobs Curriculum Coordinator/Tech Resource Honolulu, Hawaii.

A selection of some of my favorite tweets (organized according to theme): 

Standards:

ColinTGraham: @k_shelton Standardizing is not the same as meeting a standard – the latter being more criterion-based #edchat

ShellTerrell: Instead of focusing on standards, it’d be gr8 if govts focused on getting panel of experts coordinated at districts to solve needs #Edchat

21stprincipal: Standards are there to satisfy the political need to measure, not for benefit of students. #edchat Tests are there for same.

merchantkrystle: RT @MSTA: students transferring from one district to another can be at a huge disadvantage if grade level standards aren’t in place #edchat

shamblesguru: #edchat “worldwide standards” … could start with “student rights” http://www.shambles.net/pages/students/Srights/

Pederosa: @chalkdust49 imagine an NFL where all players were only allowed to score via standard moves & where original plays were frowned on #edchat

vmc_teachers: Supporters of #NCLB might say that we shld have high expectations 4 all students, hence the need 4 common standards. Wht do U think? #edchat

eshwaranv: Schools send out children around the globe. Not just within their community. Hence standardized assessments are important #edchat

k_shelton: This whole discussion is very exemplary of why standardized assessment and universal accountability are not realistic or fair #edchat

KimMcCollum: Standards = politically motivated “done deal” without ownership of major shareholders. Parity not part of it. #edchat

doc_crawford: Ed stds must be determined by all stakeholders, communities, workforce, business..gov should use these as policy advisers..#Edchat

Assessment:

davidwees: Assessment rubric: School culture okay? Students look happy? Building in good shape? Parents happy? Test scores not unreasonable? #edchat

Pederosa: Do assessment systems / methods reflect how different learners learn and demonstrate their learning #edchat

EdConti: RT @21stprincipal: Perhaps we need to rethink entirely the need to compare at all. Assess students individually. #edchat

CrudBasher: Put all student projects in ePortfolios. Let employers have their own assessments based on what they need. #edchat

SocialMediaInEd: @merchantkrystle There is no assessment of critical thinking only the student’s aptitude in rote memorization (I.E. the problem) #edchat

rliberni: RT @21stprincipal: Assessment too often ends up being superficial hoop-jumping. No authenticity. #edchat

smitha834: @ShellTerrell The only equitable way to assess such disparity is a growth-based model; to do otherwise is to perpetuate inequity. #edchat

MaggieSwitz: @ColinTGraham Agreed and formative assessment is more valuable as it shows what you need to do to improve #edchat

Becky_Ellis_: RT @cybraryman1: There cannot be a one size fits all assessment method #edchat

jasonhbuck: RT @davidwees: The easiest way to assess schools fairly is to build assessments for their local school & community. #edchat

Akevy613: RT @Becky_Ellis_: It is NOT possible to assess all schools equally. Would like a school to determine what is important not Washington #edchat

DrSmartEd: Assessments seem to focus on data for “appropriate funding” and dictate College acceptance. Tail wagging the dog? #edchat

VanessaSCassie: It’s interesting that educators are expected to promote differentiation for stdnts, yet assessed w/standards for schls, tchrs, etc. #edchat

NWEA: The focus of assessments should be to help each individual child set goals for learning, to help them improve and grow. #edchat #kidcentric

tomwhitby: Let us not forget that the assessment of our students is now becoming the standard for assessing teachers. #Edchat

Equality:

chrismayoh: What do we mean exactly when we say ‘equally’? Is this the right term to use? #edchat

olafelch: It may be too much to expect the comparison of schools to be completely fair, but how can it be moved in that direction? #edchat

MataCorvera: Only prob is who decides what’s fair, and do they have @ stdnts needs and abilities in mind? #edchat

NextGenLC: Right. Too many factors. RT @michellek107: I don’t think all schools can be assessed equally, and they probably shouldn’t be. #edchat

ShellTerrell: T @Travis_Waldron: RT @michellek107: We have some insatiable need to force people to BE equal instead of providing equal rights. There IS a difference. #edchat

TwitClass: RT @graingered: Why do we need to comare schools? Judge each one agains their incremental improvement and growth #edchat

used2bprincipal: @davidwees agreed, all children are included in test scores and all children can not perform equally #edchat

michellek107: @olafelch How can you compare schools when some students mired in poverty & others live in luxury? Impossible. Compare skills, yes. #edchat

Insightful Comments:

ImagineLearning: RT @davidwees Agree, we are not aiming to high and failing, we are aiming too low and succeeding.That’s a real problem #edchat

graingered: @tomwhitby By defining their context/purpose- good is the enemy of great #edcaht #edchat

kalinagoenglish: RT @sjhannam: To answer what is wrong with education, we need to talk about politics, society, inequality..question our perception #edchat

JasonFlom: Schools r like ecosystems & districts like biomes. Ecologists look at similar measures for all, but also specific measures for each. #edchat

21stprincipal: Factory model: students are raw materials that can be shaped and molded. Learning is then a process to measure. #edchat

olafelch: @cybraryman1 I agree that students’ growth is really important (and significant). Jast as long as it isn’t confused with ability. #edchat

tomwhitby: if we use assessment as intended, to assess, reflect, adjust and teach again this wouldn’t be a discussion. It’s the misuse & abuse #Edchat

doc_crawford: @tomwhitby taxpayer is the community, the politician wants to be reelected by the taxpayer, getting communities on board is the key #Edchat

To follow the complete discussion see here 

 For the stats on #edchat participation see here 

 As ever, there were some great links shared:

briankotts: How Students Measure Great Teaching http://bit.ly/9UjKzg /via @arielsacks #edchat #edtech

otlcampaign:  School reform doesn’t have to be costly-just fair! http://ow.ly/2DZ9Z  #EdGap #BlackEd #EdChat

shamblesguru:  #edchat … easy … just telephone the school inspectors 😉 http://www.shambles.net/pages/staff/Inspection/

bjnichols:  Educational Leadership:Giving Students Meaningful Work:What Makes Kids Do Good Work? http://bit.ly/9Fm3Uy  #edchat

vmc_teachers:  How to assess students from diff bgrounds? Should we integrate social economic profiles? If so, how to: http://bit.ly/cU4Qeo

ShellTerrell:  RT @rachelala: in UK schls have contextual value added interpretation of socio-econ profile factored into data http://bit.ly/9oUaaL  #edchat

GiftedHF:  Are schooling and learning synonymous? (via @HoagiesGifted ) #gifted #homeschool #edchat http://fb.me/Hokdqjo1

Thanks2Teachers:  RT @gcouros The Gift of Emily http://bit.ly/aNim50  edchat #elemchat #teachers #ptchat #edu

NancyTeaches:  MUST READ! Awesome new blog! @gret: “Once Upon a Time a Teacher Joined Twitter” http://bit.ly/cFAtMX #edchat #elemchat #ntchat

ColinTGraham: My blog post about some of the issues of ‘standard’ exams in the UK (England specifically): Irrational numbers http://bit.ly/dcaoGR  #edchat

shamblesguru: #edchat … or does it all hinge on School Self Evaluation? http://www.shambles.net/pages/staff/selfeval/

shamblesguru:  #edchat “worldwide standards” … could start with “student rights” http://www.shambles.net/pages/students/Srights/

CATeachersAssoc:  We completely agree! RT @mikeklonsky An Open Letter To @NBCNews and Brian Williams http://bit.ly/dyHJ42 #edchat #edreform

cpoole27:  Showing students our blog… Would like them to see visitors in our revolver map… Please visit http://bit.ly/bMTCI0 #edchat #vanmeter

NWEA:  Is there a crisis of quality in education research? How do we tap into what really works for kids? http://nwea.us/b08PoW  #edchat

EdTechEvolution:  How quickly things can move when ideas are born and we’re brave enough to try them-YouTube Instant- http://bit.ly/9mgOHA #edchat #edtech ^JT

ToddAHoffman:  Students create “digital constitution” to govern technology use #edchat #edtech http://sbne.ws/r/5Eso

ShellTerrell:  How can we assess a schl like this http://flic.kr/p/4rzwqD  to same standard as a school like this http://flic.kr/p/775rcX  #edchat

TwitClass:  RT @shamblesguru: #edchat no one has mentioned virtual schs or home schs how do they fit in? http://www.shambles.net/pages/school/vschools

cybraryman1:  Yes, I have an Assessment page: http://bit.ly/dnW8jf  #edchat

ColinTGraham:  The can-do statements used by the CEFR http://bit.ly/9AULou  seem to be a much better approach, and more like @davidwees suggests #edchat

SmartEdServices:  Hence TAPit http://bit.ly/SmartEdTAPit  @geloomis “People educate themselves in different ways.”~Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer #edchat

@shamblesguru:  Right, we alws forget that ed. is not just schooling // How do virtual schs or home schs fit in? http://bit.ly/bgJ8Y4  #edchat

isteconnects: New Post: Super Mario’s Legacy Extends to Education http://bit.ly/cC26ie  #edtech #edchat

gjmueller:  We know but keep doing it RT @reyjunco Multitasking negative effects on student work http://bit.ly/bzUAi4  #edchat

olafelch: For any ELTers involved in #edchat today, check out http://eltchat.com / and join in #ELTchat tomorrow

JoAnn Jacobs is a Curriculum Coordinator/Tech Resource Hongwanji Mission School, Honolulu, Hawaii.  She is also the school’s project director for the Hawaii Association of Independent Schools “Schools of the Future” initiative.  She has been a teacher/coordinator for more than thirty plus years.  JoAnn lost count because she loves kids and her work.

New to Edchat?

If you have never participated in an #Edchat discussion, these take place twice a day every Tuesday on Twitter. Over 400 educators participate in this discussion by just adding #edchat to their tweets. For tips on participating in the discussion, please check out these posts!

More Edchat

Challenge:

If you’re new to hashtag discussions, then just show up on Twitter on any Tuesday and add just a few tweets on the topic with the hashtag #edchat. 

What do you think? Leave a comment!

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