February 8, 2019
Last week I wrote about the second phase of academic rigor where educators identify methods of supporting rigorous achievement. I asked the question of what exactly does that mean? I went on to explain that it means that not only is maintaining a high standard essential, but excellent teachers make sure that they are supporting each and every student to move progressively toward the desired level of achievement. Educators must consistently ensure that no matter what the content, skill or standard that is being covered, that they provide the requisite materials using the required instructional pedagogy. There are a variety of signs that signal a healthy and supportive classroom environment for student progress.
This week let’s look into what the final phase of rigor involves. As the two previous phases point out, it is not simply to teach and expect students to learn. The final phase is the assessment of the degree to which students achieve standard mastery. True assessment of academic rigor is for the teacher to provide students with various opportunities to demonstrate their degree of mastery. This demonstration is a balance of formative and summative assessments.
The validation of achievement may include standard mastery measured using a rubric or other standard-based assessment tool. This includes students being able to conference with the teacher or each other and revise or make corrections to their work. Validation means that homework and classwork are merely thought of as practice and nothing more. Validation includes having students work on projects either independently or collaborating with a peer or group. Projects allow students to connect the standards and material learned to real-life examples and situations.
Validation of achievement allows students to provide a written or spoken summative report. They may create models or dioramas that reflect understanding and demonstrate mastery and includes a written or spoken explanation.
Validation is exemplified as students metacognitively apply a variety of content learned across content areas. It allows for the comparison between the first and most current attempt at mastery. Students’ progress is reflected by high-level answers to high-level questions. Students begin to validate their own mastery through reflection. Finally, this validation of achievement is evidenced when students no longer desire to give or feel overwhelmed when they are faced with the challenges that learning may bring.
Not sure what I’ll write about next but know something will come to mind. If you have thoughts or ideas, please feel free to share. As always, thank you for your tremendous commitment to Every Student, Every Day!
Have a great weekend.
Adam Taylor, Superintendent