Thursday, November 19, 2009

What should Kentucky ask for?

Placing teaching quality at the center can give Kentucky’s Race to the Top application a unified vision that stands out against other applications and a compelling explanation of how a grant of limited duration can build strength that will last for decades into the future.
Building on Rick Stiggins' conception of balanced assessment, I believe that our specific aim should be to ensure that every teacher is fully equipped and experienced in these key capacities:
  1. Converting state standards into scaffoldings of more specific skills.
  2. Tracking student progress on those skills though locally-designed assessments.
  3. Analyzing student needs with rich and accessible state longitudinal data.
  4. Developing instruction in collaborative learning communities built around the standards, scaffoldings, assessments, and data analysis noted above.
  5. Refining that instruction by tapping into outside resources: networks of practitioners, expertise from universities and other sources, online access to assessment and instruction resources tied to each standard, and additional study in university classes, teacher academies, and other settings as needed.
Kentucky is deeply ready for those initiatives, as shown by the recent locally-driven efforts to apply balanced assessment concepts, the growing clarity about the kind of professional activity that generates changed practice, and the strong bi-partisan commitments of Senate Bill 1.
Kentucky approaches to the other RTTT priorities --including state standards and assessment, data systems, and intensive intervention in weak schools-- should be built around the central process of strengthening our education workforce to provide consistent, effective teaching for all Kentucky students.

1 comment:

  1. I think this is an excellent list, but missing one key ingredient: collaboration with parents and families, in each of these areas. For example, parents need to understand the state standards and how teachers use them in the classroom to develop specific skills. Families should be aware of how the assessments work and how their children are doing. In analyzing student needs, communication with families about their children should be included I would also explicitly include a school's families in its learning community and consider families as resources to be tapped.

    Any definition of teacher effectiveness should include indicators that cover understanding how to reach out and engage all families in the class, especially those that might have been labeled "uninvolved" or "hard to reach".


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