The Goals and Expectations (download here:
Download OpalOnline_Article_GoalsExpectations )for student learning go hand-in-hand with the school's values and guiding principles. The perennial questions are: How can we KNOW that we've achieved the things we set out to do? How do we know that our curriculum and instruction lead children to develop towards these particular goals and expectations? How do we collect evidence that supports interpretation of our efforts and the children's?
As public school students in the state of Oregon, our charter school students take the state-mandated standardized tests in third through fifth grade. Their scores on these tests are consistently among the highest in the state. That's all fine and good, but the truth is, there are other school programs based on direct instruction models, with radically different sets of goals and expectations for their students, that do equally well on those tests. How can we create a system that supports the communication of success and challenges with new possibilities for student achievement?
This is the question we are asking ourselves as we work to invent a new assessment system for Opal School students. We are hoping to create a system that will support greater expectations for student achievement. Far beyond Reading and Math and multiple choice Science, we want to make visible the rich capacities of children to invent, design, imagine, create, problem-solve, make connections, care, and take action. We think this is possible, but we recognize that we are only at the beginning of this journey.
This year, we are working with Evernote's online database system to create student portfolios. This portfolio system is evolving along with a revision of our curriculum mapping process and practice of documentation (which is the focus of the next online module). We are not far enough into the new assessment and evaluation process to have a tremendous amount to share about what we're learning, but we wanted to give you some sense of where we are headed. This would also be a great opportunity for participants to share systems or structures they use that are successful for them. What are you doing to support your community's understanding of the power and potential of children's thinking? Please share your thoughts in the comments section and the online forum.
Questions — How do you map a fluid learning environment? And then how do you use the curriculum maps to inform your instruction, assessment and future planning?