Sunday, March 18, 2007


There is a knowledge sharing aspect of teaching that is quite rewarding. By the way, this does not have to be in your domain necessarily. I came across a generous Principal at a local school that has worked very hard to put together with his teachers a student assessment based on the state standards. He mentioned that the approach was borrowed from a teacher in Washington State. In any case – it is a wonderful tool which I hope to use in the near future.

Basically the approach is to have one form for a given unit to give to the student. So the student will self-assess their progress against a standard. It can be used obviously to drive other pedagogic strategies as well. The elegance of this approach is honestly sheer genius. Thank you Mark!

The student self assesses using the following matrix

Against – for example the Biology: Evolution standard 7. Here is the first one 7a

The teacher understands the ELEMENTS that make up this standard:

The teacher then breaks this down into individual COMPETENCIES that the student will assess himself or herself against:

You can see how this will play out can’t you?

A student has to look at the COMPETENCIES, say, “define a phenotype” and ask themselves,

  • I can recognize this when I see/hear it?

  • I can talk or write about it

  • I can do it

  • I can teach it

Do you see the value of this tool?

It would be a LOT of work with in my opinion well worth the effort to achieve excellence in teaching and student performance.

Sunday, March 04, 2007


Time has flown by! The University started late January - now we are well into the classes. The High School has progressed into the second semester which gave me a great opportunity to start the classes teaching literacy as we headed toward the "Universe" in IS 1 and "The Earth" in IS 2. So far the experiences have been invaluable...