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We have the International

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We have the International Baccalaureate Program in our school and therefore, teachers and students are extremely accountable. For instance,50% the course I teach is graded externally. I grade the rest of the course, however, it is moderated externally. Having this system holds us all accountable and most certainly raises the level of student learning.

great!

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I love the idea having the students present their own work in front of an audience. I believe that would keep them accountable for their work and make them want to do their very best. It is also a good way to show their peers what they have learned and to learn from each other.
I taught 4th grade last year, and in an effort to mix it up, I broke up my classroom into groups of 4. I then made them accountable for reading a section of their Social Studies book on the different regions of the US. They then made a billboard trying to persuade new settlers to come to their region giving examples from the text. They then presented their billboard to the rest of the class. I really felt that giving them ownership of a section of material made them more accountable for their learning and the teaching of their peers.
It is awesome to give students a voice!

I am really impressed with

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I am really impressed with the stats from Envision Academy. I too teach students with low income and many of them will be the frist to graduate from high school or college in their families. It is exciting to see how well the students do in college. I have not used a public performance in my classroom, but I can see how it would motivate both the students and the teachers to be prepared and successful. I have not heard of instructional rounds before. I feel that they could be beneficial to schools because the school woudl gain feedback from others outside of the system. Does the school invite certain people to come and visit, or is it more of an open invitation to be a part of this process?

High School Math Teacher from Minneapolis, MN

Two Schools

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I've taught in two different schools with two different views on the matter. One school was very open to having the public come in and see what your classroom is like. It took a while for the students (and myself) to get used to strangers walking in during class. After a while, it was almost expected and the students were no longer distracted. As a teacher, that was the hardest part to get used to. How will this affect my ability to maintain my students' attention? The more it happened, the easier it got. As for the second school, there really isn't any school or district accountability. It's almost like a "no news is good news" philosophy. I think they would be open to allowing the public in for visits, but it isn't encouraged as much as the first school.
I love the idea of the public exhibitions! What a great way to hold everyone accountable.

Junior and Senior Language arts Teacher, North Dakota

Assessment and Accountability

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I enjoyed your ideas on how to make assessment authentic. Public exhibitions and instructional rounds are two interesting ideas. I have utilized public exhibitions in my classroom before, going to far as having community members come in to interview and view the students' work; however, I have not heard of instructional rounds before. I like the idea of opening the classroom to the public as it would give non-teachers a real glimpse of what teaching entails. It would also motivate teachers to be at their best.

I would be interested to know how this process begins.

High School English Teacher

Great idea!

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I really like your concept of the performance assessment here where students summarize and present their learning for a more public audience, not just of their peers, but of parents, siblings, grandparents, other parents, and administration. I think knowing that they will be showing off their learning to others in a non-traditional classroom setting really does encourage them to go the extra mile to make sure their learning is "good" and authentic. Students (and their teachers) don't want to appear unprepared in front of others, especially since this type of assessment is public and would be very clear in displaying their amount of effort.

Just out of curiosity, how well attended are the open-house nights for these presentations? I think they are a great idea, but wonder if it is difficult in our busy lives to get parents to come in.

Kindergarten Teacher from Otsego, Minnesota

Impressed...

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Wow! I have to say that it would take a LOT to get teachers in my school to open their classrooms to the public or even to other teachers at times to come and observe them and their students. So many teachers seem to be 'scared' when the principal has to come observe them formally every 3 years and formally 3x/year for the first three years until tenure. I have been observed several times and admit I would get nervous when the principal would come in, but mostly it was in the anticipation of her coming. If she just showed up, I should be doing the same thing whether she is there or not. I think this attitude is what is needed throughout the schools. I also think it is helpful if teachers are open to suggestions instead of feeling like they know everything and shouldn't have anyone else telling them how to teach or what to change. We need to change, that is part of education! The formal observations are how teachers are held accountable.
As far as how our school holds students accountable, it seems to be through standardized testing. I do not think it is working since so many parents and students do not care about the tests and some students don't even read the questions before answering. I think a lot of the attitude comes from home. If the parents care about their students score or grades, then the student is more likely to care. If the parents don't care, neither does the parent. How do we get parents attitudes to change along with students? How do we get teachers to want to learn more and be excited about changing things or trying new things in their classrooms to teach the students instead of sticking to the things they've been doing for 30 years whether they work or not?

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