Goals and Feedback – Marzano Chapter 4

“George Madaus and colleagues found that tests that are not specifically designed to assess a particular school’s curriculum frequently underestimate the true learning of students” (p. 38)

“The message is clear. Unless a school employs assessment that are specific to the curriculum actually taught, it cannot accurately determine how well its students are learning.” (p. 38)

Hooray for the quotes above. Our students are learning but often don’t perform well on standardized tests. If the assessment is based on state standards (and that’s a big if), and if we are teaching the curricula specified by state standards, then they should be performing well. If either one of the premises are false, the conclusion does not follow. Since we only have control over the second premise. . .

Action Steps:
1. Implement a timely assessment/feedback system on specific knowledge and skills for specific students.
Marzano’s suggestion a minimum for this feedback is quarterly doesn’t seem frequent enough for my situation. He suggests designing specific quarterly tests and calls that formative. We have plenty of tests that do this. How do we use this information? I could do better. At the same time, what I’m focusing on right now is providing better individualized assessment 2-3 times per week during small group work. I believe that will be much more effective than quarterly assessments, but of course it should also affect those assessments.
Redesign report cards? Sure. They really don’t give much information. The suggestion on Figure 4.4 – is he kidding? I’d need to explain all of the concepts to parents first. That’s just ridiculous. How about an explanation of the standards covered during the 9 weeks in plain English, without the percentages. Then a parent would know that their student mastered 79.4% of the listed standards.
Figure 4.5 is difficult to fathom “it would require teachers to keep track of student achievement on only about six topics per quarter”. ONLY? ONLY? 150 students x 6 x 4quarters? There goes all that instructional time out the window – it’ll be spent on assessment and record keeping!

2. Specific challenging goals for the school as a whole
Marzano references Schmoker in this section. We heard a lot about Schmoker from our EE Roland Pope a few years ago. It was emphasied that we have data driven, time-lined goals that are measurable. I don’t remember anything about fast results. Our current EE, Lana Wingo, has put an emphasis on fast results and has suggested ways to use our current staff to do so. I’m excited about her suggestions and hope that we achieve some of those fast results. We have always had the talent. We have also been wheel spinners and wheel re-inventors. I look forward to having better direction, vision and results.

3. Establish specific goals for individual students.
This is exactly what I’m working on. Workstations and small group group work as well as out-of-classroom intervention is making this more possible. My time is better spent focusing on specific student’s specific needs. It’s very difficult to accomplish this but it seems to be paying off already.

Published in: on October 4, 2009 at 4:48 pm  Leave a Comment  

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