Where do we set the bar?

A few weeks ago we were talking about school ‘accountability’ in one of my classes. I mentioned that I didn’t think that most schools were yet producing ‘future ready’ graduates. If they were, we would see more school environments that immersed students in deeper learning, student agency, authentic work, and rich technology infusion opportunities.

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There seems to be fairly wide agreement that schools that aren’t achieving minimum levels of proficiency on standardized tests of lower-level – or, for PARCC & SBAC fans, arguably mid-level – knowledge are ‘failing’ or should be ’turned around.’ But even broad, schoolwide success on most current assessments is still a pretty low floor for how we judge the efficacy and success of our schools. If we raised the bar up to preparation for true life readiness, wouldn’t most schools do pretty poorly on the four shifts noted above? (and other fronts, like information literacy and global awareness) When do we as a society care about and have a sense of urgency about that?

4 Responses to “Where do we set the bar?”

  1. Scott,

    I think it’s especially confusing when considering that the bar should potentially be set at a different level for different schools. For example, should standards for Broughton High School – a well-funded school in Raleigh, NC – be set at the same level as those at Fike High School – an eastern NC school with far less resources? Such an interesting topic to ponder and I think this goes back to the debate surrounding aspects of common core. Thanks for posting.

    Hayden Vick

  2. I agree that if we do raise the bar up to prepare for real life readiness, the schools would do poorly on the four shifts. Which isn’t good. I feel like we aren’t giving our students the real life readiness they need. You can teach all the information in a textbook but that won’t help students when it comes to setting up a bank account or writing a check.

  3. Hello Scott,

    My view of accountability has changed a bit as I’ve been at the county level for almost three years. Before, I viewed accountability as a synonym for state testing and hoops to jump through. Now, I hear how districts are setting their LCAP goals around the Big 4 + English Language Development (ELD). They are focused on the students, and work with the county on those goals. While some districts are just figuring out technology infrastructure to eventually support a learning environment for technology infusion, it is a starting place that they are making themselves accountable.

    While my recent post looks at creating a learning environment of compassion and empowerment, I’d like to direct your attention to the VCOE students from our community school. This is an example of accountability put into action and it’s awesome-sauce.

    As always, thank you for challenging ideas for our learners.

    Kind regards,

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