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Tag: education policy (page 1 of 2)

The Implications of Grading Without Zeros

From the Teach.com blog –January 16, 2018 by Sheldon Soper

For most of us, grades were always a part of school. Work was assigned, it was completed, and we were given a score reflective of our efforts and understandings. At regular intervals, these scores were compiled and sent home on report cards to inform our parents or guardians of our progress.

Over time, grades have become a ritual of the educational process that most students, parents, teachers, and administrators have come to expect as a measuring stick of progress and achievement.

Recently, there has been growing support for removing grades from the educational landscape altogether. Instead of A’s and F’s or 100s and 0s, there have been pushes for more authentic evaluative criteria like standards-based proficiency or relying exclusively on descriptive feedback. It makes sense; successfully facilitating a growth mindset in students involves assessment styles tied to more intrinsically relevant experiences than arbitrary numerical scales.

For all the merits of the no-grade argument, the reality for most districts is that simply abandoning grades altogether is a difficult proposition. For better or worse, parents know from their own experiences what grades are; there are entrenched expectations about their importance and the messages they imply.

On a logistical level, schools have policies about extra-curricular participation tied to specific grade qualifications. Colleges and employers still ask about things like GPA and class rank when evaluating candidates.

In response, some schools have adjusted the traditional grading model with a modified numerical scale that starts at 50% rather than 0%. In doing so, stakeholders still receive the quantifiable progress indicators of grades, but it changes the entire conversation about student agency in earning them.

Read more at the Teach.com blog: The Implications of Grading Without Zeros

The Constantly Evolving Role of the School Librarian

From: The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) Blog – Guest Post on behalf of Teach.com – July 5, 2017 – by Sheldon Soper

The educational landscape is awash with initiatives to make learning more authentic and problem-based. For these differentiated approaches to work, students and teachers need networks of support to ensure that students can follow their own felt needs for learning. Who better to support that journey than the modern school librarian?

Forget Dewey decimal quizzes and overdue notices; today’s school librarians are the linchpins for modernizing the educational system. In the era of belt-tightening and budget cuts, school librarians are crucial pieces in the educational infrastructure that need to be both protected and cherished if our students are to receive the best education possible.

Read more at The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) Blog The Constantly Evolving Role of the School Librarian

Using Learning Styles to Reach Students

HowToLearn.com GUEST COLUMN | by Sheldon Soper

There has been plenty of pushback against the claims that learning styles are a sure bet when it comes to facilitating student understanding. As with everything in education, there is no panacea to make learning magically happen. However, that does not mean learning styles have no place in a teacher’s toolbox.

By recasting learning styles through a lens of student learning preferences, educators can ensure they are offering academic help and support in ways that significantly up the likelihood of student engagement and, in turn, growth.

Taking things a step further, this same understanding can lead to purposefully differentiated instruction practices. Mixing and matching teaching techniques aimed at different learning styles can give students the opportunity to turn diverse learning experiences into complex understandings.

Read more at HowToLearn: Using Learning Styles to Reach Students | How To Learn

A Fair Opportunity for Success

Prevent technology gaps from creating achievement gaps.

EdTech Digest GUEST COLUMN | by Sheldon Soper

Technology-driven classroom workflows need analog components to ensure students without reliable access to technology outside of school are not left out. Otherwise, the technology gap between those with access and those without will quickly manifest as an achievement gap.

Read more at EdTech Digest: A Fair Opportunity for Success

3 Ways for Veteran Teachers to Prevent Burnout

The concept of teacher burnout is nothing new. However, much of the discussion surrounding teacher burnout focuses on new teachers that wind up making a quick exit from the profession.

The reality is, only a fraction of the hundreds of thousands of teachers who leave teaching each year are novices. Veteran teachers too, it turns out, are quite susceptible to burnout . Each year, a growing percentage of the nation’s experienced teachers are voluntarily leaving the classroom.

Read more…

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