If you were a naughty person, which I'm sure you're not, and you wanted to stir up a room full of educators, start talking about grading practices that are actually research based. (Note: If you really are interested in the research citations, shoot me an email and I can share some with you.) If you need a starting point, try Ken O'Connor's "A Repair Kit for Grading: Fifteen Fixes for Broken Grades".
Simply put, grades should reflect what students know and are able to do. Unfortunately, a lot of common grading practices inflate or deflate grades. In doing so, grades are no longer an accurate summary of student learning. At best, they are an accurate measure of student compliance.
There's certainly this perception out there that research is not applicable to our current work, or that research is not pragmatic. It's not true! Teachers can learn from researchers and certainly the reverse is true too. Dr. Hattie's work, in particular, shows that 95% of their factors positively influence student achievement. But you can't implement them all...so which ones do you choose to start with? Wouldn't it make sense to start with the things that are likely to give you the highest yield? That's where the Visible Learning books come in handy. By the way, the number one greatest influence on student achievement is...? Self-reported grades! Interesting, huh?
I always loved If You Give a Mouse a Cookie and the related titles. The domino effect described in the book can be explored in so many different contexts, including my own teaching practice.
In my last two years in the classroom, my teaching and learning in my classroom shifted dramatically. In fact, the term "shifted" does not seem to accurately reflect the change that occurred in a relatively short period of time. The change was primarily sparked because of the introduction of technology to my classroom and my struggle to make the best use of it that I could manage. If I look at it from a Piagetian viewpoint, the introduction of technology to my classroom disrupted the equilibrium in my teaching practice. And that simply wouldn't do! I struggled to find my new equilibrium and realized that I really needed to shift my conceptual understanding of what teaching and learning could and should look like.
So, they're called the Next Generation Science Standards but are they really standards in the same sense that we're used to? Throw in there that the assessable units are called performance expectations (PEs) and I'm not so sure where we stand anymore. And I don't think I'm alone either, judging by a post from Brian MacNevin in the Google+ NGSS Peer Learning Network.
I was challenged by Jody Green (@peerlessgreen) to share five things that educators must stop pretending in order to #makeschooldifferent. Here they are:
Let us stop pretending that adding technology to a classroom will automatically make it more engaging. I have seen technology change the face of teaching and learning in my own classroom and in our district. However, if you take your old boring worksheets and put them on an iPad as PDFs, do you know what you get? You'll get boring digital worksheets! We have to change how we do business.