Sunday, February 26, 2012

Week 6 of CED 555

This is the final week of 555 and I think I just finished my portfolio. I am really glad that we had a class that provided us with support as we created our portfolios. I spent a lot of time on my portfolio's layout and I am really pleased with how it turned out. It was interesting going back through all of the courses that I have completed and reflecting on what I have accomplished. Feel free to check it out and leave a comment on my blog or within my portfolio.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Week 4 of CED 555

This week we discussed the concept of standards in class. It was an interesting discussion about how the concept of standards was developed, the use and implementation of standards, the measurement of meeting standards, and the roles that both local and national government play.

The history of standards was something that has never really crossed my mind. I never really thought about how corporate businesses are rated or evaluated using some form of standards and how this makes quality and service improve. This is a system that is designed to provide the best for the consumer so why not apply it to education so our students can have the best? I have always been aware of the Wisconsin standards and have understood their intentions. Standards are designed to improve the quality of the education that our students receive. The tricky part is who creates these standard and how do we evaluate them.

Our class discussion continued as we discussed the flaws with the concept that each individual state should create its own standards and utilize or adopt its own test to evaluate if students are meeting these standards. Standards were not unified because of the desire to have local control. This model resulted in an inaccurate way of measuring the success of our students across the nation. The rigor of the standards and tests varied for each state, therefore making the results rather meaningless. This issue resulted in the birth of the common core standards. The science department at my current school district is examining these standards and evaluating the gaps in our current curriculum. These common core standards at least allow us to have a consistency across all states. The next step is determining how students will be evaluated.

This led to an interesting discussion about testing and about how we will utilize the test results. We got into discussing adaptive testing. The MAPS testing is an example of this. The test will adapt based on the student responses. This allows us to identify what part(s) of the content the student specifically struggles with. Using a test to determine the student's weakness is great, but we need to focus on how to correct these gaps in their content knowledge. This brought us to the realization that quality common standards and adaptive testing should really be used to drive student instruction as opposed to measuring a school's or teacher's performance.

Overall, I thought that this was an interesting discussion. As I mentioned, my department at the school I am with is current looking at the common core standards. My portfolio project idea for this class is to actually use these standards as a part of the grading system. In the future, I hope to change my grading system to a standards based grading system using the common core standards. I would have the students demonstrate their proficiency by creating an electronic portfolio that contains the artifacts supporting their mastery. I feel as if this is an effective way to evaluate and demonstrate the depth of the content covered within the class.