A challenge: Are you ready to break out of the “test scores” box?

Are you tired of feeling beaten down by test scores?  Are you tired of always having to think about “fitting in” a whole laundry list of standards during the year?  If you answered “yes” to either of these questions, then I offer a challenge to you – both teachers and administrators.  There is real, growing (and in some cases long-term) evidence* that intentional instruction that focuses on the big ideas of the grade level or course, and that focuses on habits of mind like those in the Standards for Mathematical Practice, can deepen students’ learning and understanding while producing laudable test data as well.  Of course, “intentional” instruction includes ongoing reflection on the part of the teacher and a purposeful inclusion of ALL students in EVERY element of these classroom practices.  As teachers, it means that our primary task in class is to really LISTEN to students and to show them that we honestly believe that their thinking is valuable and important – no matter how sophisticated at that given moment.

Yes, this is a risk – but perhaps you are ready to take that risk!  Possible stumbling blocks can include not actually getting to all of the big ideas of the course (but you have months!) and not truly including all students in the same way (but we really just have to work at this!).  Teachers and administrators need to start talking more about making this leap together, because, oh, the rewards can be terrific in so many respects.  I am glad to talk more about this with anyone!  And I would love to hear your stories and to start to create our own NE Ohio body of evidence!

*Some examples of research evidence:







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