George Lucas Educational Foundation

School Of The Future

Grades 6-8 | New York City, NY

Comprehensive Assessment: A New York City Success Story

Through constant investment in the assessment process, both students and teachers strive for true learning at School of the Future, a 6-12 school in Manhattan. More to this story.
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Comprehensive Assessment: A New York City Success Story (Transcript)

Stacy Goldstein: What makes it School of the Future? We always say it was founded as a school of technology twenty years ago, but that's not really what makes us distinctive. What makes the School of the Future is that we really put our energy and our thoughts and planning into what are the critical thinking skills that our students need to be successful in this global economy and that's a dynamic process, so our dedication here is about making our kids critical thinkers, making our kids develop their analysis skills, making them be more self reliant and better community members.

I think that what you assess ends up being what you teach and especially in like a political landscape such as ours right now, that's really valuing assessment, our school has really had to figure out, how do we contextualize this push for assessment in our school that's always had particular values of what it means to be a good school?

We think about authentic assessment, we're trying to figure out what our kids should be able to do, and what kind of thinking they should be able to demonstrate.

We want them to say, when they're in a class, it's not just like you're learning science. You're learning how to think like a scientist. Or you're not learning history, you're learning how to think like a historian. So it's really also learning like the discipline of thinking.

Benjamin Mook: There's a huge difference between thinking math and doing math. A difficulty that I deal with, lotta kids still think that getting the right answer is enough. Like once you have the right answer, you've done all that could be asked of you in a math classroom. The difference is, I want kids to think that there's more to a math class than just answers. Today, they were applying the slope formula to a set of stairs and seeing if they were in compliance with New York City building codes. Okay, this is the math. This is how the math connects to the real life, and that was my goal.

Sarah Kauffman: The thing the kids struggle with is when they don't feel like they're making progress at school. And so the more that we can assess them to make them see their progress that they're making in a way that empowers them, the better that they do academically, and the more invested they are. So that's what I go for, is that constant idea of investment through the assessment process.

Casey Smith: The relationship between the students and the teachers is very unique, in that it's like a team, where you both are striving to learn the truth about whatever subject you're learning about, and instead of other schools, where sometimes it's like, the teacher's just telling the student what to do and the student is just obeying, it's a very collaborative environment.

Rob Olazagasti: I would say most certainly, the teachers are more invested in the thing that they do because it's theirs. You know, they have a lot of pride in their craftsmanship, a lot of pride in their craft, that they definitely bring to the table, and I feel like it definitely allows them to express themselves better, making them stronger teachers.

Stacy Goldstein: We're really looking at assessments to say, we don't wanna be deluded by, "Well, it looks great in the classes and the kids look like they're getting along and they're raising their hand and they look like they have a pen in their hand and they're saying things." And so we use assessments to really hold our feet to the fire to make sure that our kids are really making the progress that they need to make.

Sarah Kauffman: You can really teach effectively, 'cause you're really thinking like, "Who is in front of me? What do you need?" which I think is the way that kids feel valued, 'cause they know that they're working on something that they need to work on, and they appreciate you for it.

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This installment of Schools That Work was produced in collaboration with The Digital Learning Group.

Comments (3) Sign in or register to comment Follow Subscribe to comments via RSS

Yelba Zoe Osorio's picture
Yelba Zoe Osorio
Drama/Language Arts Tutor/ Yoga Teacher (all ages)

The novel idea of creating a jumbo-size atom was terrific fun. I think it engaged the students' fascination, and made the material more concrete, less abstract. The other aspect I think works very well, is getting the students to teach. As they say, "If you really want to learn a subject, teach it!"

I am student-teacher, and I have to create a green lesson plan for a class assigment, this may not directly help me with my assignment, but the spirit of creativity and out-of-the-box teaching style, is certainly inspiring.

John Barell's picture
John Barell
Consultant for inquiry, problem solving, critical thinking.

As a former NYC teacher at a small school (Thomas Jefferson Alternative High School) many years ago and now someone interested in assessment of 21st century skills (inquiry, problem solving, critical/creative thinking) I am very intrigued by your focus upon authentic education that emphasizes critical thinking. As one math teacher said, It's not about the answers, it's about the thinking. Content is Process. Thinking--all aspects of 21st century processes--can and should be assessed.
John Barell

Jessica's picture
Building Confidence in Students, One Child at a Time

I really appreciate this. As an owner of online tutoring program running agency, I would love to hear that every student can make use of the leader in subjects from any part of the world. Even with such decent technologies, we still have to go through the tutors which college, universities and localities offered us. This way the thinking of student has been delimitized.

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