This year in Worthington our staff is working furiously to implement a host of new learning standards and new measurements for both students and staff. Teachers are writing new curriculum to comply with the Common Core, we’re refining our classroom teaching strategies to implement Formative Instructional Practices with fidelity, we’re fine-tuning our assessment measures and we’re trying to implement student value-added data into a new teacher evaluation system. We’re doing all this at once. And, we’re teaching 10,000 kids each day in our 19 school buildings. At times I think we all believe our heads may start spinning.
While the current pace and the current amount of work is daunting, we are not alone. School district’s all over Ohio are doing the same work and it is all aligned to improve student learning and prepare Ohio students for the future.
Battelle for Kids created this puzzle graphic to explain how all of our work fits together. I have this graphic posted in my office and it helps me remember how the work is aligned and that in the end, the hard work now will make our schools better.
Here’s a snapshot of each piece to the puzzle:
Piece #1: What Teachers Teach
By 2014, teachers are expected to teach Ohio’s College and Career Ready Standards. These standards include: K-12 Common Core State Standards in mathematics and English language arts/literacy and Pre K-12 revised state standards in science and social studies. The new standards focus on the content and skills that students need to be successful in life. This includes creativity, innovation, problem-solving, collaboration, and analytical and reasoning skills. These standards are more rigorous than previous standards and require more of teachers and students—but there are fewer standards, which allows more time to focus on learning what is important for life beyond school.
Piece #2: How Teachers Teach and Students Respond
Formative instructional practices are the formal and informal ways that teachers and students gather and respond to evidence of student learning. These practices come in many shapes and forms, but always include these four components: 1. Using clear learning targets, which help the teacher and the student understand where they are going—what they are learning and why. 2. Collecting and documenting evidence of student learning, so the teacher and the student always know where the student is on his or her learning journey based on accurate information. 3. Analyzing evidence and providing effective feedback, which ensures that students stay on the path to success. 4. Students taking ownership of their learning, by setting their own goals, providing each other with effective feedback, and reflecting on and sharing their learning with others. Extensive research shows that these practices can translate to great gains in student
Piece #3: Evidence of Student Learning
Educators need a strong, reliable balanced assessment system to monitor and measure student learning. According to the Ohio Department of Education, an effective assessment system balances the use of assessment information for formative and summative purposes. A balanced assessment system includes a continuum of strategies and tools designed to address instructional, monitoring and accountability needs. New statewide assessments will be administered to gauge student achievement of the new standards. This new generation testing regime is being designed to gather evidence of how well students have learned the critical skills needed for future success in school and beyond. Formative instructional practices provide teachers with a clear process for how to collect and respond to evidence of student learning. These practices also build an understanding of sound assessment design. Assessment-literate educators are able to collect valid and reliable evidence of student learning around the new standards. Value-added information, a measure of student growth over time, provides educators with information about the effects of their program on student learning at a classroom, school, and district level. The Ohio Improvement Process (OIP) is a framework designed to help districts, buildings, and teams identify critical needs, develop a focused plan, implement and monitor the plan, and gather evidence of impact on student learning.
Piece #4: Evidence of Teacher Effectiveness
Ohio is implementing a new teacher evaluation system called the Ohio Teacher Evaluation System. The two primary components of the OTES are teacher performance and student growth. The student growth component is intended to measure a teacher’s impact on student learning. The teacher performance component is intended to measure how well teachers embody the qualities that Ohio has adopted for the teaching profession. Through OTES, Ohio school districts are working to strengthen their evaluation systems and process for helping all teachers improve classroom practice. When evidence of teacher effectiveness is available through multiple measures, teachers will receive valuable feedback about what they teach, how they teach, and what effects their instruction has on student learning.