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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Linda Darling-Hammond on International Assessment

Linda Darling-Hammond on International Assessment

Related Tags: Assessment
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On November 17, Edutopia will be hosting a pair of powerful webinars focused on issues of standards an assessment, featuring Linda Darling-Hammond. Go here to learn more and sign up: http://www.edutopia.org/linda-darling-hammond-webinar Edutopia has asked me to facilitate the discussion over here, so please allow me to introduce myself. I first became acquainted with Linda Darling-Hammond's work when I read her book back in about 1998, "The Right to Learn, a Blueprint for Creating Schools that Work." In it, she wrote about the National Board certification process, which was then still new. I decided to pursue certification, and drove monthly to the National Board support group she had organized at Stanford. I was teaching middle school science in Oakland at the time. I left my school after 18 years, to become a classroom coach, which is my current post. I also have a blog called Living in Dialogue, on Teacher Magazine: http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/living-in-dialogue/ I have worked with Linda on numerous projects over the past ten years, and have found her to be a wellspring on knowledge and inspiration. I am looking forward to this conversation very much.

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Bonnie's picture
Bonnie
former HS teacher, MEd, Education Administration, mom of 2

The Forum on Educational Accountability has created a "Joint Organizational Statement on No Child Left Behind" to improve federal education policy. The Joint Statement has been signed by more than 150 national education, civil rights, religious, children's, disability, and civic organizations, representing more than 50 million members." There are many groups out there that are trying to break out of this testing madness we are currently stuck in.

Prof. Darling-Hammond suggested an answer was teacher empowerment with increased site-based management. These were some of the buzz words back in the 1990s. I was involved in efforts where teachers took it upon themselves to try to build a vision for the students they worked with, creating "schools within a school" for their differing populations. Sadly, lack of funding and the beginning of the standards movement stopped many of these efforts.

The impetus was still there, but instead of giving teachers the professional recognition that they deserved as being the ones who could best understand their students and their educational needs, the political and business communities took over. The political community created standards that are, in many cases, educationally unsound. The business community created for-profit charter schools, testing prep programs galore, and continued bashing the schools so they could gain more and more inroads into the education market. (Gerald Bracey who passed away last month was a constant researcher who tried to show that the public schools weren't failing and the research was being wrongly analyzed.)

Public school teachers are busier than ever. When it is teachers and schools alone to overcome all the obstacles facing today's youth, we set a standard that is unfair and unsustainable.

Jane Strohm's picture
Jane Strohm
Researcher, Education Informatics at University of Arizona, Tucson

Terry Smith
Project-based classroom teacher/Online Edtech College Instructor
Posted on 11/17/2009 2:37pm
Race to the Top - a sham?

[quote]Not only are so many schools overly concerned with meeting the requirements of the race,and thus putting learning efforts on the back burner, but schools are literally calling in the vendors, ready and willing to turn over new stimulus money for quick fix test prep and tracking.[/quote]
I am also concerned that with the dismal economic situations in states like AZ & CA, the rush to get access to those additional funds will negate the thoughtfulness that's required to really implement change in education. It seems the US has a history of implementing educational shifts without really applying what's being learned by great education research. What's it going to take?

Jane Strohm's picture
Jane Strohm
Researcher, Education Informatics at University of Arizona, Tucson

How do you delete a comment. I'm learning how this discussion posting works and ended up posting the same thing twice?

Eric Brunsell's picture
Eric Brunsell
Asst Professor of Science Education @ UW-Oshkosh
Blogger 2014
Facilitator 2014

I agree that the direct stimulus funding will probably lead to superficial "quick" fixes. However, the funding for developing new assessments and identifying regional partnerships should have a very positive impact.

Personally, I object to the title -- "Race to the Top" -- it implies that a quick fix is possible. The reason why Finland is at the top is because they instituted coherent and sustained reforms over nearly 40 years.

[quote]Not only are so many schools overly concerned with meeting the requirements of the race,and thus putting learning efforts on the back burner, but schools are literally calling in the vendors, ready and willing to turn over new stimulus money for quick fix test prep and tracking. Let's see: vendors analyze state test objectives, vendors package state objectives in ready-to-use form, then vendors sell states their own test objectives in a bright new package guaranteed to raise test scores. Why don't we just skip the schools and give the money straight to the vendors? Oh...are there students in there somewhere?[/quote]

denise brock's picture
denise brock
Teacher U.S. and international: AP, IB, A-levels

As a teacher that has taught in several countries, I was hoping to hear something new. Unfortunately with this webinar, it was information that has been recycled for years. We need to realize it is not a change in curriculum that is needed, as the U.S. is actually doing many of the same things (in the AP program at least) that countries are doing in A levels and the IB. It is culture we need to take a look at--how do students spend time during the day? How much is spent on working jobs to keep up with the consumerism, and how much is spent on sport? In other countries, students have more time to absorb knowledge. Also, this webinar could have been more effective if we had been given the slides to read first, then could have had more time to learn from each other by having time for questions/discussion.

Betty Ray's picture
Betty Ray
Director of Programming and Innovation @Edutopia
Staff

Thanks for posting your comments about the recent LDH webinar. You raise some good points. I particularly love your idea of having the slides available in advance and inviting more time for questions/discussion. I'll forward to other members of the team. In the mean time, we can certainly continue the discussion in this group. If anyone would like a refresher, or to view for the first time, Prof. Darling-Hammond's ppt presentation is here: http://www.edutopia.org/images/webinar/Assessments.ppt

Anthony Cody's picture
Anthony Cody
Science Coach and mentor, Oakland, California
Blogger 2014
Facilitator 2014

Denise suggests that this information is not new. I agree, but at the same time, it feels as if we may need to keep repeating the obvious, since the dominant policies do not reflect this understanding.

I think k-12 education is straining at the edge of a paradigm shift, just as much of our culture is. In our schools this emerges as a battle between learning the traditional ways, measured by traditional means, and more authentic ways. There are other countries that have managed to move through this with a bit more grace, and for me, it is wonderful to get the perspective Dr. Darling-Hammond shares with us. Until we break with the old paradigm, we are going to have to keep pushing on these issues, even though it gets tiresome sometimes!

Joel's picture

A stimulating and thought provoking presentation especially in light of my perception of the similarities between the education and health care systems and the need for fundamental reform in both. In many reguards,I feel teachers are very similar to physicians in that they both are the experts in their fields and ideally help guide/advise patients/students thru and help them "pull" value from their respective systems. Unfortunately, our health care and education systems are based on so called "Command and Control" models that separate decision making from the work. Systems thinking, as exemplefied in the Toyota Motor Co., asks workers to be responsible for the work they do and asks management to support them by improving the system.
In health care reform, although not included in the present legislation, there is also a strong interest in how other developed countries provide superior health care. Also apparent from the health care debate is that in order to acheive substantive, lasting and continually improving health care for Americans comparable to other developed countries, a fundamental restructuring of the health care SYSTEM is required.
In my view, our educational system requires a similar fundamental restructuring that places teachers at the center of the process that students go thru to gain knowledge--student-centered education; a system that supports teachers' continual improvement in educating our children by continually improving itself.
Other developed countries can inform us, but we need to develop our own educational system, a system that learns.

Anthony Cody's picture
Anthony Cody
Science Coach and mentor, Oakland, California
Blogger 2014
Facilitator 2014

Joel makes an interesting comparison. National Board certification for teachers was invented about twenty years ago out of a desire to give accomplished teachers greater standing, analogous to board certification for doctors. But over the past two decades the medical profession has slid, under assault by the whole insurance/pharmaceutical industry. So now doctors have many of the problems teachers have been dealing with forever.

I agree we need a restructuring, and it can't come too soon.

Joanne Grenier's picture

As an examiner, panel member, and consultant here in Massachusetts over the past ten years, I have seen different approaches to implementing education reform. Last year Massachusetts registered as a separate entity in the TIMMS and scored near or at the top in comparison with other nations. While MCAS still has its detractors and could still be improved, it has pushed Massachusetts in the right direction to improve student achievement.

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