I read this great post on assessment from Bill Ferriter, “How Would YOU Answer these Questions on Grading?“, where he asks these questions:
Do your students care more about their grades than the learning those grades are supposed to represent?
Are the grades given in your building an accurate representation of what students know?
Are grades in your building a better indicator of student COMPLIANCE than they are of student PERFORMANCE?
Do grades REALLY motivate learners?
You can read more on what Bill shares on these questions from his post, and although I love what Bill wrote, this post is not about assessment in the sense of how we grade our students. It is about thinking about how we look at the impact these conversations have in our professional practice.
Let’s say that we take these questions from Bill and have a great discussion within our faculty. That’s a great start, but what happens after the conversations? We are often really good at having meetings, but not necessarily great at doing something because of said meetings.
So what if after these great discussions, we answer the following (shared from an earlier post):O
I thought of these questions in the first place after working with a group of teachers and students, with one of the students asking me over lunch, the following question:
If teachers are doing this on these days that we are not here, why are they not getting any better?
I do believe that these questions can be helpful in creating action from our time together, but now that I look at them, I think that there was something missing from the original post. Through my Covey training, one of the aspects they focused on is ensuring we see results because of our actions. This was called a “cadence of accountability.” The way I have interpreted this term was that we create a rhythm in how we report what we have done to our colleagues because of our ongoing conversations and commitments. We do not just ask these questions at the end of a professional learning day, but we follow up with our peers and share the impact of the work we have done at the next professional learning day.
A question you could ask:
Since we focused on _________ in our last professional learning day, what have you done, and what was the impact for student learning?
It doesn’t necessarily have to be that question (feel free to make your own or any modification), but whatever question it is, it should promote accountability toward action between meeting “A” and meeting “B,” not only from teachers but administrators. How often do you have a professional learning day in your schools that you do a plethora of work in one day, but then just move to the next thing on the following day? If we want depth in any of our learning or actions, there has to be time to follow-up.
We can talk all we want in education, but only action will move us forward. Creating a cadence of accountability to one another and our students is something that should be a norm in school if we are going to continually grow as organizations and individuals.