Tuesday, March 14, 2006

A Premature Question

David Warlick speaks to essential learning and assessment in this post:
I also explained that we have three basic questions that we address in the process of educating.
  1. What do we teach?
  2. How do we teach it?
  3. How well have we taught?

In recent years, we have been focused on the third question, “How Well?” It’s an essential concern, and it’s universal. However, it is a premature question. At this moment in history, when technology has taken a major leap forward, the nature of information has changed, and nearly every other aspect of how we live seems in flux it seems that the “What?” question is where our focus should be. What do children need to be learning to adapt and prosper in a time of rapid change.

When we have figured that out, then we determine the “How?” question. In what kind of classrooms will students learn, from what kind of teachers, and within what kind of learning experiences?

When we have answered those questions, then we can come back to, “How Well?”

I think this is something to really think about during this CSAP week. I agree that we probably need to spend more time asking the "What?" and "How?" questions before we can adequately measure "How well?" After all, if the measurement indicates that we are doing really well teaching something that doesn't need to be taught, how useful is it? While I think CSAP does measure many things that are important and do need to be taught, I also think that it doesn't come close to measuring some of the skills and knowledge our students need "in a time of rapid change."

Related posts can be found below and in the Induction Blog.

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