My wife, I have to be honest, was right. The first posts in this series are depressing. It is sad to see what we are guilty of doing to children in the name of giving them an education. My hope in presenting the impact of the problems is that people will see that this "disease" is very real, very harmful, and in very real need of a remedy. Without coming to that conclusion, little effort will be expended to create a new reality.
Now, it is time to focus on the actions necessary to create that new reality. This process begins with coming to a consensus around the word "accountability" by answering one question: What do we need to hold students accountable for?
The number one answer should be learning, as demonstrated by mastery. If we agree on that answer, then we need to agree that traditional grading methods are some of the worst means of measuring accountability (for all the reasons mentioned in my previous posts). A new, simpler method is to plainly show what a student knows compared to the standard of what the student is expected to know.
With that established as the objective worth measuring, then we can turn attention to giving feedback that is specific, timely and actionable. Good feedback will tell students and parents where gaps are present, how big those gaps are, and most importantly, how to close the gaps.
So, let's focus now on how to use valuable feedback systems to truly hold students accountable for the right things.
Here are links to useful resources on this topic:
- "7 Key Characteristics of Better Learning Feedback" (TeachThought)
- "Seven Keys to Effective Feedback" (elaboration on the content in the above article)
- Grant Wiggins Presentation
Hopefully, there will be much more to come about ways to inject better feedback loops into our student accountability systems in our schools.