Friday, October 11, 2013
Changing - The goal is to be better.
We are in the middle of a shift or moving towards the extreme end of a pendulum swing currently with the Common Core Standards. We can already see people now moving against the core and I don't think it is bad or good - it is too much too fast. And that is the problem with education - lets be great tomorrow - students must get there and be great - immediately. But my goal has never changed in my eight years of education since I came from private industry - I simply want to be slightly better tomorrow than I was today.
Personally I have worked hard at making my curriculum "college and career ready" - using the ACT as my guide (an Aligned by Design mentality). It is the test that about half my students need to do well on and does indicate whether they are ready for college math or not.
I started this mission on college readiness in 2010 following a conference (another subject another time). And the mission was simple and small, to start reducing the percentage of students taking remedial math in college. My mission, now three years later, is for all my Algebra 2 students to test into credit math at college or tech school, which is something education currently struggles with - somewhere from 33-40% test into remedial, non-credit college, math. I have had success in this by making my students accountable for all math - at all times. So Algebra 1's grade is 50% pass material, Geometry is 50% Algebra, Algebra 2 is 50% Geometry and so forth. We don't take time on the material but simply use recursive assessments to make sure students use it enough not to lose it. I think of it as two, 15 minute power review sessions during the week -- except the review session is just a quiz. But the important thing is, it is one small thing to be just a little bit better tomorrow than today.
Either way, no matter what I do or how I do it - I just want my students to be better than yesterday. Just to progress daily - 2% improvement year after year is the goal. By doing that I have had success, so my question is not what is the next big thing I am doing - but what is the next small thing. The large pendulum swings just does not work.