Saturday, September 17, 2011

Ready, set, let's evaluate schools and teachers

After running for school board and reading a lot of somewhat strident public comments about the teachers strike in Tacoma, I got to thinking that a lot of people--especially many who want to issue diktats about necessary "reforms"--may not really be aware of the kinds of strategies and directives schools are implementing in order to improve their work.

School isn't what it used to be...even in the 6 years I've been involved.  It has become ordered by a lot more protocol and procedure aimed at squeezing more learning improvement out of every class and every student.  I don't think everything we have to do is great or even good.   One has to know how to attend to these procedural details without having them impinge on the greater project.  Once comfortably incorporated into your routine, though, they do make instruction a bit better.  (For instance, as I fit the learning target--below-- into my day, I got comfortable pointing it out in the flow of the day's instruction...and I believe it does help some students keep a better focus on what they're doing.)

Herewith, a few questions to give a little taste--I'm sure it's little, as the education bureaucracy and regulation is utterly Byzantine--of some of the organizing principles of teaching.  You could think of it as a quiz, if you like.  I wrote the quiz, and I don't know all the answers.

What is the ESEA?  (It's what we all know as NCLB.)  Describe the "highly qualified" requirements for teachers.

Name any two of Marzano's High Yield Strategies.  Bonus—How many strategies are there?  Extra bonus--name the highest yielding strategy.
What's the highest level skill/competency on the updated Bloom's taxonomy?
What are Power Standards?  (Here's a set for a school district, not mine--ours are under review)
Explain the importance of a daily learning target.  From/on what are learning targets based?
What is an EALR?  What is the CCSS?  What is the connection between the two?
Which of these (GLE, EALR, CCSS, Learning Target, Power Standards, Marzano's strategies) are required to be posted in classrooms in the district where you live?
Name the content categories (strands) on the various MSP tests.  (See the very bottom of this sample score report.)
What is a CBA?  Which subjects administer these?   What data does the state record from these?
On what material, information, data, etc., are the School Improvement Plans in your school district based?

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