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Meghan Cureton

Grades are for Onions, Beef, and Other Produce; Not Children - 1 views

  • What good is gained in assigning a grade to a child’s work? The concept of 90–100% = A, 80–89% = B etc. is so entirely subjective and fraught with fallacy. Because a child can do every question on your arbitrarily chosen and constructed exam, and do so by anticipating what it is you are looking for with 100% accuracy does not mean they understand or can explain what the mathematics is about.
  • Why should our children be assigned something we also use for factory produced vegetables? Grading is an anachronistic hold-over from the Scientific Management era inserted into schooling during the 19th century.
  • Finnish kids have NO homework, but call me a believer in the idea that the Finns place less importance upon grading their children against each other. Formative assessment replacing heaps of summative assessments.
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  • Finnish national curriculum has been addended to include a multi-disciplinary requirement in each year of schooling. This will require a completely different method of assessment, there is no way to assign a single letter or numeric grade to such a task.
  • Honestly, is ranking an important outcome of education? Do we need to know who was “best” or “worst” at reading the minds of their teachers and regurgitating what those teachers want?
  • My point in this is that we seem to have lost the learning purpose, the goal of growing humans into their best selves is not central to our endeavor.
  • education needs to drop its focus upon grades as being the product of 13 years of a child’s life. Bring to schooling the joy of learning as it will go farther than the negative consequences associated with grades.
Bo Adams

Educational Leadership:The Constructivist Classroom:The Courage to Be Constructivist - 1 views

  • The search for understanding motivates students to learn. When students want to know more about an idea, a topic, or an entire discipline, they put more cognitive energy into classroom investigations and discussions and study more on their own.
  • First, constructivist teachers seek and value students' points of view. Knowing what students think about concepts helps teachers formulate classroom lessons and differentiate instruction on the basis of students' needs and interests
  • Second, constructivist teachers structure lessons to challenge students' suppositions. All students, whether they are 6 or 16 or 60, come to the classroom with life experiences that shape their views about how their worlds work. When educators permit students to construct knowledge that challenges their current suppositions, learning occurs. Only through asking students what they think they know and why they think they know it are we and they able to confront their suppositions
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  • Third, constructivist teachers recognize that students must attach relevance to the curriculum. As students see relevance in their daily activities, their interest in learning grows.
  • Fourth, constructivist teachers structure lessons around big ideas, not small bits of information. Exposing students to wholes first helps them determine the relevant parts as they refine their understandings of the wholes.
  • Finally, constructivist teachers assess student learning in the context of daily classroom investigations, not as separate events. Students demonstrate their knowledge every day in a variety of ways. Defining understanding as only that which is capable of being measured by paper-and-pencil learnings administered under strict security perpetuates false and counterproductive myths about academia, intelligence, creativity, accountability, and knowledge.
  • Organizing a constructivist classroom is difficult work for the teacher and requires the rigorous intellectual commitment and perseverance of students. Constructivist teachers recognize that students bring their prior experiences with them to each school activity and that it is crucial to connect lessons to their students' experiential repertoires. Initial relevance and interest are largely a function of the learner's experiences, not of the teacher's planning. Therefore, it is educationally counterproductive to ignore students' suppositions and points of view.
  • Constructivist classrooms demand far more from teachers and students than lockstep obeisance to prepackaged lessons.
Meghan Cureton

The Case For Competency-Based Education | Getting Smart - 0 views

  • transformed schools that feature tasks and projects that challenge young people in authentic ways to build design, collaboration, and communication skills that prepare young people for navigating new and complex situations.
  • Quality preparation. Much of the corporate training world has shifted from participation to demonstrated skills in order to improve job readiness.
  • Equity. If gap-closing equity is a stated goal, then structures, schedules, and supports can be aimed at struggling learners that need more time and assistance to accelerate their learning 
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  • Learning science. As Harvard’s Todd Rose notes, there is no average; each of us has a “jagged profile.” He and others argue that we should address the individual needs of learners.
  • Agency
  • The extent to which a student owns their own learning, often called agency, is key
  • innovation is required in five dimensions: More innovative learning models and networks, particularly for high schools (XQ, NewSchools, and NGLC grantees are a good start); Competency-based learning platforms, gradebooks, badge and portfolio systems; Quality guidance systems that ensure equity and access. Mastery-based transcripts that allow students to more fully share their capabilities with postsecondary institutions and employers; State policy that advances a relevant graduate profile, makes room for innovation pilots, and articulates a quality outcome framework (see the CompetencyWorks report Fit for Purpose).
Bo Adams

Education Experts Explain the Role Teachers Would Play for Students in Classrooms in a Perfect World - The Atlantic - 0 views

  • With so many different learning styles and students at different places in their learning within a grade and within subjects, students and schools will benefit greatly from co-teaching models.
  • Individual teachers will not be responsible for individual students as much as the team of teachers will be responsible for the learning outcomes of each student they touch within the school day.
  • The notion of “teacher” will change significantly in the future. The growing number of formal and informal learning options is causing an unbundling of the teacher role.
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  • In the future, we will see teachers choose among a variety of options, including:Content experts who focus on developing curriculum Small-group leaders who provide direct instruction Project designers to supplement online learning with hands-on application
 Mentors who provide wisdom, social capital, and guidance Evaluators to whom other educators can give the responsibility of grading assignments and, in some cases, designing learnings Data experts
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    HT @eijunkie
Bo Adams

The Future of Big Data and Analytics in K-12 Education - Education Week - 0 views

  • data scientists would then search the waters for patterns in each student's engagement level, moods, use of classroom resources, social habits, language and vocabulary use, attention span, academic performance, and more.
  • would be fed to teachers, parents, and students via AltSchool's digital learning platform and mobile app, which are currently being tested
  • AltSchool's 50-plus engineers, data scientists, and developers are designing tools that could be available to other schools by the 2018-19 school year.
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  • AltSchool is almost certain to provoke a backlash from parents and privacy advocates who see in its plans the potential for an Orwellian surveillance nightmare, as well as potentially unethical experimentation on children.
  • The term "big data" is generally used to describe data sets so large they must be analyzed by computers. Usually, the purpose is to find patterns and connections relating to human behavior and how complex systems function.
  • Analytics generally refers to the process of collecting such data, conducting those analyses, generating corresponding insights, and using that new information to make (what proponents hope will be) smarter decisions.
  • replacing the top-down, slow-moving bureaucratic structures that currently shape public education with a "networked model" in which students, teachers, and schools are connected directly by information and thus capable of learning and adapting more quickly.
  • 'Montessori 2.0': a kind of supercharged version of the progressive, project-based learning often found in elite private schools and privileged enclaves within traditional school systems.
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    Eventually, Ventilla envisions AltSchool technology facilitating an exponential increase in the amount of information collected on students in school, all in service of expanding the hands-on, project-based model of learning in place at the six private school campuses the company currently operates in Silicon Valley and New York City.
T.J. Edwards

What IS the difference between competencies and standards? | reDesign - 2 views

  • Competencies, on the other hand, tend to emphasize the application of skills, knowledge and dispositions rather than content knowledge.
  • Competency-based models approach content as the backdrop, while putting essential skills and dispositions front and center. In this way, content serves as the context for practicing and demonstrating “transferable” competencies that can be applied in different contexts.
  • In competency-based models, the entire system must change. Students advance upon mastery  when they are ready, not when an arbitrary academic calendar suggests that they should be.
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  • Optimally, competencies are broad enough that student pathways and demonstrations of proficiency can be vastly different, organized to encourage and nurture student passions and questions.
  • Competencies sit above standards in terms of grain size.
  • competencies tend to encompass an interrelated set of skills, knowledge, aptitudes, and/or capacities.
  • competencies are often constructed as groupings of related skills or attributes that are purposefully designed to be explicit, measurable, transferable, and empowering to students
  • Competencies define skills that are practiced and developed continuously. They are not “one and done,” like many standards, which are course-based and attached to specific grade levels or bands.
  • in truly competency-based systems, PLDs are not attached to specific grade levels
  • we believe strongly that we must guard against tying PLDs to age-based grades or cohorts.
  • PLDs are guideposts to mastery
  • When learning outcomes are defined in terms of the application of skills or the synthesis and creation of new knowledge, we’re then talking about a much more sophisticated learning type
  • competence is about successful application of skills and knowledge to achieve a particular purpose, not simply to show basic levels of understanding
  • In a true competency-based system, students can’t fail. Instead, students receive concrete and specific feedback on their work, and are provided with opportunities for additional practice and support in order to develop and demonstrate growth in their competencies.
  • Mastery-based grading and promotion policies are radically different in competency-based systems because promotion is based on mastery of specific skills, not on completion of courses made up of arbitrary and highly varied bundles of content, skills, and concepts.
  • As competency-based education gains ground in formal K-12 schooling, there is a very real chance that the movement could lose the “spirit” of its intent and become yet another, albeit more refined, form of standards-based learning
  • In competency-based models, performance level descriptors (PLDs) clarify the developmental journey from novice-to-expert or to "mastery."
  • Quite differently, competency-based models reach back centuries, with early apprenticeship learning that created pathways for mastery and gainful employment. Think: Medieval craft guilds, masonry, baking, carpentry, shoemaking.
Jim Tiffin Jr

Meaningful Making: Projects and Inspirations for FabLabs and Makerspaces | FabLearn Fellows - 0 views

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    "Project ideas, articles, best practices, and assessment strategies from educators at the forefront of making and experiential education."
Bo Adams

Badges | Computer Science Student Network - 0 views

  • connect accomplishments with a compact, portable form of recognition designed to motivate earners to pursue further achievement.
  • since Badges can be awarded in real-time, they can be used as milestone markers in formative assessment.
  • Hierarchy and Evidence
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  • Badges are uniquely qualified to both suggest and document flexible learning trajectories toward meaningful milestones.
  • All Badges are part of a larger ecosystem of delivering, assessing, and credentialing learning.
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    HT @TJEdwards62
Meghan Cureton

Stop Teaching Classes And Start Teaching Children - 0 views

  • Too often bits and pieces are tacked onto curriculum as yet another perfectly-reasonable-sounding-thing to teach.
  • There is nothing wrong with changes in priority. In fact, this is a signal of awareness and reflection and vitality. But when education—as it tends to do—continues to take a content and skills-focused view of what to teach rather than how students learn, it’s always going to be a maddening game of what gets added in, and what gets taken out, with the loudest or most emotionally compelling voices usually winning.
  • Skills are things students can “do”—procedural knowledge that yields the ability to do something. This could be revising an essay, solving a math problem, or decoding words to read. Content can be thought of as a second kind of knowledge—a declarative knowledge that often makes up the face of a content area. In math, this might be the formula to calculate the area of a circle. In composition, it could be a writing strategy to form sound and compelling paragraphs. In history, it may refer to the geographic advantages of one country in a conflict versus another. Should schools focus on content and skills, or should they focus on habits and thinking?
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  • So then, hundreds of standards. Hundreds! This places extraordinary pressure on educators—those who develop standards, those who create curriculum from those standards, those who create lessons from that curriculum, and on and on—to make numerous—and critical—adjustments to curriculum, assessment, and instruction on the fly.
  • Why not try a different approach–one that not only decenters curriculum, but reimagines it completely?
  • Building A Curriculum Based On People
  • n the past, we’ve sought to add-to and revise. Add these classes and drop these. This isn’t as important as this. To make knowledge an index that reflects the latest thinking that reflects our most recent insecurities and collective misunderstandings. This doesn’t seem like the smartest path to sustainable innovation in learning.
  • Give me a curriculum based on people–based on their habits and thinking patterns in their native places. One that helps them see the utility of knowledge and the patterns of familial and social action. One that helps them ask, “What’s worth knowing, and what should I do with what I know?” Then let’s work backwards from that.
Bo Adams

The Monthly Recharge - Risk Over Safety - 0 views

  • The learning classroom is active, collaborative, and full of real, thoughtful, academic-discipline-informed discussion with students working together to solve challenging problems
  • But when the teachers see it, really get it, there is no going back. It is what they are after for their students and classes: problem-based, project-based, inquiry-based, discussion-based-all student-centered deep learning.
  • And to pursue learning for their students, teachers must be pedagogical scientists. Every day, in every class, teachers must conduct research and experiments into the most compelling learning experiences for their students. In these experiments is unavoidably innovation.
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  • We can support teacherly innovation/experimentation a host of ways: Establish it as an expectation in posts for jobs and at the time of hiring new teachers. Discuss it in teacher evaluations and self-assessments. Feature examples of it in faculty meetings. Provide innovation grants for summer design work. Give time to teachers (through course loads, class enrollments, course reductions, and even sabbaticals) for innovation work.
Meghan Cureton

7 Ways To Remove The Gamification In Your Classroom - - 0 views

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    Focus on learning over playing game of school
Bo Adams

Inside the School Silicon Valley Thinks Will Save Education | WIRED - 0 views

  • But what are they betting on? AltSchool is a decidedly Bay Area experiment with an educational philosophy known as student-centered learning. The approach, which many schools have adopted, holds that kids should pursue their own interests, at their own pace. To that, however, AltSchool mixes in loads of technology to manage the chaos, and tops it all off with a staff of forward-thinking teachers set free to custom-teach to each student. The result, they fervently say, is a superior educational experience.
  • heir own weekly “playlists,” queues of individual and group activities tailored to the specific strengths and weaknesses of each kid.
  • This puts AltSchool at the intersection of two rapidly growing movements in education. Along one axis are the dozens of edtech startups building apps for schools; along the other are the dozens of progressive schools rallying around the increasingly popular concept of personalized education. The difference is: AltSchool is not just building apps or building schools. It’s doing both. In that way, AltSchools are more than just schools. They’re mini-research and development labs, where both teachers and engineers are diligently developing the formula for a 21st century education, all in hopes of applying that formula not only to other AltSchools, but to private, public, and charter schools across the country.
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  • obsession with constant feedback
  • Ventilla likes to call AltSchool’s approach to teaching “Montessori 2.0.” The Montessori method emphasizes letting kids learn primarily through independent projects rather than direct instruction.
  • AltSchool has built a digital platform, called My.Altschool
  • “We think assessment can be much less invasive and much more accurate when you’re collecting data from many sources.”
  • The team is also working on a recommendation engine for teachers, not unlike those used by companies like Amazon and Netflix. This tool would take into account everything that My.Altschool knows about a student—from her playlist history to how she learns best to what her strengths and weaknesses are—to recommend activities. “It’d be great if the system could figure out that Johnny’s an auditory learner, who loves castles, and that he’s struggling with estimating,” Bhatia says, adding that an early version of that tool will likely be available this year.
  • Once these tools have been validated within the AltSchool environment, Ventilla’s goal is to bundle them up into what he calls an “operating system for a 21st century education” and license them to the education system at large.
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    HT @MikeyCanup
Bo Adams

How Good Is Good Enough? - Educational Leadership - 0 views

  • Mastery is effective transfer of learning in authentic and worthy performance. Students have mastered a subject when they are fluent, even creative, in using their knowledge, skills, and understanding in key performance challenges and contexts at the heart of that subject, as measured against valid and high standards
  • Wooden described his overall method like this: "I tried to teach according to the whole–part method. I would show them the whole thing to begin with. Then I'm going to break it down into the parts and work on the individual parts and then eventually bring them together"
  • The constant process of bringing the parts back together in complex performance is what's routinely missing from many so-called mastery learning programs.
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  • Regardless of what particular solution we come up with for linking local grades to wider-world standards, this must be our motto: No surprises; complete transparency as to where the student stands in terms of performance.
  • This is the crux of the matter: how to set school-level standards (and give grades, scores, or judgments in relation to them) in terms of valid external standards. If local tests are less rigorous than state and national tests, and if teachers' scoring and grading of student work reflect only local norms and not wider-world standards, then the school is not standards-based.
Meghan Cureton

100 Questions That Help Students Think About Thinking - - 0 views

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    Excellent bank of questions to spur and scaffold self-directed learning and metacognitive behaviors in your classroom, workplace and your life
Bo Adams

The Past, Present and Future of School Design | EdSurge News - 0 views

  • untapped opportunities involve further personalization of the curriculum, teaching, and assessment.
  • Schools will no longer be just free-standing buildings but will be more integrated into community life.
  • Segregating students by age will become less prevalent within learning spaces.
  •  
    Tweet from @akytle: @jbrettjacobsen @boadams1 Here's part 2 #mvdesign The Past, Present and Future of School Design https://t.co/TQe1qbMklL #edtech via @EdSurge HT @akytle
Trey Boden

The perils of "Growth Mindset" education: Why we're trying to fix our kids when we should be fixing the system - Salon.com - 0 views

  • The problem with sweeping, generic claims about the power of attitudes or beliefs isn’t just a risk of overstating the benefits but also a tendency to divert attention from the nature of the tasks themselves: How valuable are they, and who gets to decide whether they must be done?
  • Unfortunately, even some people who are educators would rather convince students they need to adopt a more positive attitude than address the quality of the curriculum (what the students are being taught) or the pedagogy (how they’re being taught it).
  • praise kids for their effort (“You tried really hard”) rather than for their ability (“You’re really smart”)
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  • But the first problem with this seductively simple script change is that praising children for their effort carries problems of its own, as several studies have confirmed: It can communicate that they’re really not very capable and therefore unlikely to succeed at future tasks.
  • what’s really problematic is praise itself
  • It’s a verbal reward, an extrinsic inducement, and, like other rewards, is often construed by the recipient as manipulation
  • Moreover, praise communicates that our acceptance of a child comes with strings attached: Our approval is conditional on the child’s continuing to impress us or do what we say.
  • We need to attend to deeper differences: between extrinsic and intrinsic motivation, and between “doing to” and “working with” strategies.
  • If students are preoccupied with how well they’re doing in school, then their interest in what they’re doing may suffer.
  • A 2010 study found that when students whose self-worth hinges on their performance face the prospect of failure, it doesn’t help for them to adopt a growth mindset.
  • Even when a growth mindset doesn’t make things worse, it can help only so much if students have been led — by things like grades, tests, and, worst of all, competition — to become more focused on achievement than on the learning itself.
  • And this brings us to the biggest blind spot of all — the whole idea of focusing on the mindsets of individuals.
  • Ironically, the more we occupy ourselves with getting kids to attribute outcomes to their own effort, the more we communicate that the conditions they face are, well, fixed.
  • But why have so many educators who don’t share that sensibility endorsed a focus on mindset (or grit) whose premises and implications they’d likely find troubling on reflection?
  • I’m not suggesting we go back to promoting an innate, fixed, “entity” theory of intelligence and talent, which, as Dweck points out, can leave people feeling helpless and inclined to give up.
Meghan Cureton

Q: What's the Right Dosage of PBL?        A: Not Once Per Year | Blog | Project Based Learning | BIE - 2 views

  • Does adopting PBL mean we should use it all the time and teach everything via projects? If not, then how many projects should teachers do per semester or year?
  • Project Based Teaching Practices are actually just good teaching, period, and many of the practices can be used in the classroom when students are in between projects.
  • “Just make two high-quality projects per year for every student be the goal.” In a K-12 system, that means each student would experience 26 projects at a minimum—which sounds like a lot! But that’s only the start. Perhaps students in middle and high school, at first, would experience two projects per year in one subject area—if, say, only social studies teachers begin to use PBL. But assuming PBL spreads across the school, students would do projects in other subject areas, or do interdisciplinary projects, and eventually experience many more than 26 projects if they stayed in one K-12 PBL-infused system.
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  • But assuming projects are between 3-6 weeks long, I’d like to see a minimum of two projects per year in every K-12 classroom, in all subject areas—so that all students, no matter who they are, can gain the benefits of high quality PBL.
  • Even better, make it one project per quarter—four per year. And while you’re at it, sprinkle in a few mini-projects to help build a PBL culture or tackle a relatively confined topic or task.
  • Why is the PBL dosage important?
  • Students cannot build 21st century success skills if they only get occasional opportunities to practice and internalize them.
  • Students will become more confident, independent learners—even identifying and tackling problems authentic to themselves, their communities, and the wider world.
  • be part of a culture that celebrates risk-taking and innovation.
  • If only a few scattered teachers use PBL in a school or district, or only a few students experience it and thus limit demand, then the system’s basic structures, policies, and culture will remain the same. But if a critical mass is reached, schools and districts will need to rethink the use of time, teacher workloads, community relationships, assessment systems, decision-making processes, and much more. Here’s to reaching the PBL tipping point!
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