Assessment and Joy

These two words don’t go together…just ask anyone who works in education.

So how do we bring them together?  Outcomes.

What…outcomes? Aren’t those assessments?  Maybe, but let’s dig a little deeper.

I’ve spent hours recently aligning State Standards (things the State determines every child should learn) with the State assessment (the way the State measures if every child is learning these things) and determining which of these standards our teachers should prioritize with students.  After all, none of us can be good at everything!

As I did this, I got excited. What if our kids could actually do all of this?  What if my standards aren’t too high, but actually reasonable?  High standards ignite hope because they represent belief:  belief that we can prepare kids to reach new heights, belief that teachers can empower students with knowledge and skills, belief that we are more than our critics believe we are.

What if standards, and assessment of how well we’re meeting those standards, could serve as a catalyst of belief and hope instead of a catalyst of condemnation and criticism?  What would this look like?

We need more joy in education.  We need kids to believe that we believe they will lead our world to new accomplishments.  We need teachers to believe that it is possible for kids to break the painful patterns they have inherited.  We need teachers, administrators, and parents to spend time getting to know each other as fellow humans in this journey of life.  What if parents, teachers, and administrators actually became friends and co-conspirators for stronger outcomes together?

Let’s assess progress to ensure that all students have a meaningful path ahead, namely, the tools they need to find their way through this life in a way that brings meaning and joy.

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