“Past research has found that teachers tend to have higher job satisfaction when there is a strong, collaborative school culture.”
This article illustrates the link between teacher satisfaction and student achievement, and is why I have been such a vocal proponent of establishing a culture of collaboration for and throughout our District.
While we strive to achieve and maintain excellence in our schools, we must look beyond the conventional matrices—like median ACT scores—to measure our progress. While standardized testing has some place in evaluating the growth and development of our students in core subjects, the level and quality of student engagement is an equally important measure of excellence (and statistics would suggest a greater predictor of happiness and success in the future). Students with passions rooted in the performing arts, fine arts, applied arts, athletics, student government and technical vocations have gifts and talents that are not measured or identified by standardized testing. Our goal as a District should be to develop well rounded students, who are empowered to explore and/or discover what they enjoy most and what they do best.
As we collaborate and develop our vision and strategic plan for the schools and the District that we want to become, the conversation should begin with the aim of a high school education. We must remain cognizant that when it comes to education, one size most certainly does not fit all. We must honor student individuality, celebrate what makes them different, and foster their diverse needs to the greatest extent possible. Our ultimate goal should be to engage, encourage and support all of our students to fulfill their full potential, and be the best that they can be, regardless of the path they choose.
Here’s another interesting concise read on the topic of standardized testing by Gallup’s Director of Educational Research, Brandon Busteed. A snippet below:
“Gallup’s work on strengths development has shown that every human on the planet has a unique talent signature — like a fingerprint. And we’ve found that each person’s success is best determined by how well they leverage their unique talents on a daily basis. Not by trying to be the same as others. And not by trying to… “fix their weaknesses.”
As a parent, I want my kids to be uncommon, not common. I want them to be unique, not the same. I want them to discover different solutions to the problem, as opposed to the same answer. As an education expert, I want my country to espouse the same. America’s economy is fundamentally about entrepreneurship — boldly and bravely striking out in new directions. But we have lost sight of that in our schools and colleges. We have a system that encourages the opposite — working within narrowly defined rules, teaching to the test and we are ultimately aiming at standardized answers and outcomes.
To be clear, this is not to suggest that we wholesale abandon standardized testing. These tests should be part of a much more balanced scorecard that includes many other more important measures. But we do need to greatly deemphasize the role these assessments currently play.” What do you think? You can link to the full article below.