Today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, the 30th such federal holiday, and a time to reflect upon the state of the nation, the state of race relations and the state of education. The nation is currently going through an … Continued
I am still trying to get a grip on John Hattie’s two books, Visible Learning (2009) and Visible Learning for Teachers (2012). The sheer volume of studies reviewed, students involved and the meta-effect methodology are just three reasons this is so hard to digest. To say I am late to this work is a given but it also allows me to see what others have said about the work. And it does take time for the research community to evaluate claims from studies large and small. Three years ago, Peter DeWitt writing in EdWeek said this:
Educational publisher Corwin Press announced that they are bringing the work of New Zealand born educational researcher John Hattie to North America. Hattie is the Director of the Melbourne (University of Melbourne, Australia) Education Research Institute and is best known for his Visible Learning approach to student achievement (Corwin & Visible Learning).
In their press release, Corwin Press said,
“Hattie’s work is based on his meta-analysis of more than 1,000 research reviews comprising more than 50,000 individual studies–the largest meta-analysis ever conducted in the field of education. Hattie identified the major factors and practices that influenced student achievement, from family background to teacher training to specific instructional practices. He then went a step further and calculated how much of an effect each factor had on students.”
A new paradigm for college and career readiness has been reported by the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education and the National Center for Innovation in Education by the University of Kentucky. Among other gems in this report are ways in which assessment could be better aligned with accountability resulting in greater learning for more children.
As schools across the country prepare for new standards under the Common Core, states are moving toward creating more aligned systems of assessment and accountability. This report recommends an accountability approach that focuses on meaningful learning, enabled by professionally skilled and committed educators, and supported by adequate and appropriate resources, so that all students regardless of background are prepared for both college and career when they graduate from high school. Drawing on practices already established in other states and on the views of policymakers and school experts, this report proposes principles for effective accountability systems and imagines what a new accountability system could look like in an imagined “51st state” in the United States. While considerable discussion and debate will be needed before a new approach can take shape, this report’s objective is to get the conversation started so the nation can meet its aspirations for preparing college- and career-ready students. (Darling-Hammond, L., Wilhoit, G., & Pittenger, L. (2014). Accountability for college and career readiness: Developing a new paradigm. Stanford, CA: Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education. Abstract.)
It is no coincidence that better alignment of assessments so that testing does more than sort and rank students would help prepare students for college readiness. But most important in this report is the push for higher-quality assessments that dig deeper on student learning and reveal what meaning students are making of their experience. It is at this deeper level that many pathways become closed, students falter, and teachers are unable to correct.
One of my favorite blogs is CreatEquity. In one of their blogs a few weeks ago, (Portfolios: The Next Wave of Student Assessment? By LINDSEY COSGROVE | Published: DECEMBER 30TH, 2013) they highlighted the rising role of portfolios in schools and the need for performance assessments as opposed to standardized testing. It could be argued that we really have enough standardized testing to last a life time, and if that method was going to help us, it would have, already, by now. Unfortunately, the paradigm of standardized testing is not a strong enough measurement of how and what the brain is learning. But instead it has caused accountability to be transferred away from teaching and learning by measuring the wrong types of things such as brain processing speed, access to quality curriculum, and even socio-economic background traits. Outside tests have a very difficult time measuring what types of learning and teaching are going on inside a school. So one of the references for this blog mentions a great report to read and understand this trend: