It’s almost back-to-school time…do you know what students and teachers are talking about? Here are the top three issues to keep you relevant in today’s education world.
Standardized Grading/Philosophy on Grading
A huge push within schools, standards-based grading is the result of too many students caring too much about numerical grades and not enough about the process of learning.
What will this look like in the 2019-2020 school year?
A report card based on numbers 1-4 or even 1-3, displaying a student score as a result of meeting the Common Core (or state) standards. For most schools, the highest (usually a 4) might be displaying a better-than-average level of understanding. What schools are looking at is not demonstrating better-than-average, but at achieving mastery – usually a 3.
Some teachers are already (seeing and using) rubrics that are standards-based.
Students (and parents) will have to get used to meeting a higher-than-normal standard. This means that the everyone-gets-a-trophy-to-avoid-hurt-feelings mentality is gone.
When a student eventually receives a lower grade, s/he will realize it’s not about them, but they may not have met the standard. Some schools already have customized grading software in place, but it’s the mindset of a standards-based system versus “What grade did I get?” that most schools have difficulty communicating.
Naturally, secondary students (and their parents) have trouble adjusting to this changing philosophy since there is no longer a GPA to compete against or determine valedictorian and salutatorian.
And yes, colleges and universities are already prepared to admit students with standards-based report cards. So how does this work without a decimal-based GPA?
Your cumulative overall average, i.e. 80% versus a 3.0.
There might not be a more divisive topic in education than the great homework debate. Everyone has an opinion on it, and research can be easily skewed to promote a positive or negative viewpoint.
Families are realizing how stressed out students get from homework. Teachers still attach scores to behavior compliance (i.e. “late” homework) if the homework is graded. Parents are concerned students don’t get enough homework to attract college prospects.
The old homework paradigm of teachers assign it, students must do it, and parents passively agreeing to it, is gone. Instead, what is now valued is the learning achieved behind the homework being assigned.
The days of homework being graded (and teachers threatening points off for being late) are predicted to go the way of teacher-centered lectures – it’s an outdated view.
Some students spend an hour on a task that the teacher perceives as taking 30 minutes.
“Balanced-view” parents (and teachers) simply want children to stop growing up so fast, and have time for “play.” Some teachers supporting this movement might assign students to read for 30 minutes and then to spend time with family members.
Other teachers might give students a “homework menu.” This menu allows students to have choices based on the type of assignment, difficulty level, and how to present their knowledge via differentiation.
Be prepared to hear lots of conversation surrounding homework as a type of formative assessment – not graded, but to check for student understanding.
Every Teacher is a Literacy Teacher
21st-century learning simply demands it.
Yet students arrive in August with a literacy deficit. They may know how to determine the central idea, but what about interpreting graphs?
Whatever you call it – digital, information-based, financial, and/or media literacy – is quickly becoming the new reading measurement. Students need background knowledge to understand subject-based readings.
In an era of presenting and interpreting information via infographics, numbers, and reports, teachers will soon be confronted with this new mantra: We are all teachers of literacy.
Schools will soon expect students to interpret real-world visuals and data instead of merely regurgitating facts.