Education Policy & Practice

Archive for December 8th, 2009

Plan to raise standards for new teachers proceeds | Rhode Island news | | The Providence Journal. [tweetmeme=”wordpress”]

Rhode Island‘s Education Commissioner, Deborah A. Gist, wants to raise the bar and elevate the cut score requirement on the state-required basic skills test  for prospective teachers. I’ve been shaking my head for a while trying to understand how it is seemingly so easy for someone to take the reigns of a classroom and be called “teacher.”

This is the same leader who directed her superintendents to end teacher assignments based on seniority.  I may have to pay closer attention to what’s happening in Rhode Island.

Commissioner Gist was appointed to her current post in April, arriving in Rhode Island after serving as state superintendent of education and chief education officer in the District of Columbia.


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YES!  That’s my answer, no question about it.  In my experience as a teacher, I couldn’t have enough data.  How can we provide the best possible educational experience for students without utilizing data to its fullest extent at the classroom, school and district levels?  And let’s not forget that “data” is not just numbers (the qualitative researcher in me is speaking now).

– Jacob’s attitude was a bit different today
– Kelly wasn’t as alert as she usually is
– Brian doesn’t usually get into verbal altercations like he did today

Paying attention to students and asking questions about their attitudes, dispositions, behavior will yield rich data that when coupled with test scores and attendance figures, for example, widens your purview of each student.   Beyond data collection, however, is the need to then do something about what you’ve learned.  I believe teachers must be observant, invested, and committed to data.  How else can you be an effective teacher?

Jennifer Morrison, award-winning teacher, proposes three attitude shifts in her article (see below) that would help teachers learn to love data:

  1. Realize that data are more than end-of-year standardized test scores.
  2. View data collection as a way to investigate the many questions about students, teaching practices, and learning that arise from any committed teacher.
  3. Begin talking with other teachers about what data reveal and how to build on those revelations.

Read this article from Educational Leadership:


Education Policy & Practice

December 2009

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