I really studied the information on pages 29-31 on the rubric scale. I compared it to our numerical grading system, and our Exemplar rubrics for math problem solving. The professional level is really interesting, and I imagine it would be most helpful in high school. I plan to use the reflection question on page 41: What did you learn about yourself as a learner by creating this product?On page 52, I underlined this sentence to remember: When you have to explain a new rubric that looks for different elements each time you give prodcut choices, you waste valuable learning time. I hate wasting valuable learning time!! I try to integrate the curriculum as much as possible. In our teacher planning room, I made a poster of page 53 Differentiation occurs when:.....
@ Melanie: Page 52 caught my eye too for the same reason-I hate to waste valuable learning time. I like not having to change a rubric everytime.
I think that there are two concepts that are important: Page 48 “A scale that removes the learning ceiling encourages high expectations for both you and your students” and page 32 “Schools must provide opportunities to learn new things every day.”The first reference seems to summarize this section by raising expectations for the students. I think we set the standards bar far too low for students, they are mastering the least that we require them to know not mastering material at a level that causes them to grow and expand their knowledge base. State testing measures the minimum students must master and classroom instruction is usually geared to accomplish the “everyone will pass the test” criteria. This new scale establishes higher more rigorous standards for all the students and doesn’t aim for the least in proficiency but leaves performance open so the students can go as far as possible with their work. The scale also provides alternative methods of assessment for a student that goes beyond simply knowing the basic material.The second point would provide teachers and student’s incentive to perform in the classroom with work that exceeds merely acceptable work and fosters creativity. Students and teachers get bored when they are required to teach concepts that most students already know and have mastered to meet a curriculum required activity that they have already seen in 6th grade again in 7th grade and finally again in 8th grade. The stranding of concepts lends its self to repetition that these students don’t need and don’t want.
On page 38: I like how the author explains how the DAP Tool for each product can provide the opportunity to raise levels of expectations for your students. The three tiers can guide students to developing a deeper, more intricate product. I thought the author explained it well.On the bottom of page 53, I liked and appreciated how the author describes how to differentiate with the DAP Tool.
@ Melanie and akreynolds: agree about wasting valuable learning time (page 52) by creating new rubrics every time. When you have a set rubric it is more efficient for teachers and easier for students to understand.
While reading these 2 chapters, I was particularly interested in the content on pages 30-23, regarding the multilevel Performance Scale. The names of levels 0 through 6 and their descriptions were spot on, and I also agreed that "proficient" NOT be the highest (or even the second to highest) level attainable. The highest level, "professional," is nice, but if I were a learner reading this, I would be e bit discouraged seeing that in order to reach this level, I would need to do work expected from a professional in the field of study... However, I think it is great to have such high standards and to make the highest that of an exceptionally high level.I fully agree, as also mentioned on page 32, that "school is the place to develop the potential of each student, including the potential of students who have mastered the content at the proficient level." I think educators are doing a better job of pre-assessing their students, and thins is yet another facet of differentiating what we offer our students. It is imperative that we add worth to each student - even if those students are advanced in certain areas of study and are seeking challenges.
I also agree with Melanie and Arkreynolds that it is a nice time-saver to be able to utilize the same rubrics for different projects. One of the biggest hurdles that educators face today is the limited amount of time available for planning, grading, teaching, etc. Being able to use similar rubrics/DAP tools is an authentic tool AND allows teachers to not have to create a new assessment tool for each product needing assessment.An added bonus is that learners and their families also become familiar with the format and expectations being requested by using the same tools.
I like what guillorys said about the performance level being very high, I think that is the point of this system, there are no limits on the students. I don't agree about the "educators doing a better job of pre-assessing their students.." I think that this is one of the weakest areas in middle school. Time is always a problem in middle school and we make a lot of assumptions about students without really taking the time required to assess them. Even when we do try a pre-assessment it may not actually reflect what the students know or can do. How they do might actually just depend on what mood they are in on the day you try assessing.
It seems to me that the use of a common vocabulary (page 52) simplifies implementation of the DAP Tool. The lack of standardization of rubrics has been an issue for me in the past, when it came to scoring a variety of products. The DAP Tool performance scales, and the four standard components, are general enough to be used in a flexible manner, yet specific enough to provide an accurate assessment of student performance. The 'Reflection' component adds another dimension to the assessment tool, as it holds the learner accountable for his/her level of commitment to the product. I found the student comments on pages 33-37 insightful, displaying confidence, frustration, and outright disgust!
Guillorys noted that the "Professional" level on the Performance Scale may intimidate some learners. I, too, questioned that level, wondering how my 4th grade students would react to such a high-leveled expectation. I suppose it is expressly aimed at those extremely gifted students who are able to create such a product.
What impressed on me most was on p. 52 "as a result of realizing that there are levels for products that extend beyond what they have seen in schools, students reconsider self-expectations...and rethink societal expectation of performance for young people in the K-12 educational setting." Reading that I could not help but think that this "rethinking" or change of perspective students experience may go beyond their ideas of K-12 education and into their lives beyond their educational career, and to their advantage! Breaking through these thought boundaries can push them to not only achieve more in their academic career but push them to achieve beyond the average standards in life. Our greatest inventors, scientists, entrepreneurs are those that do not limit themselves to the current standards, but think beyond them and achieve and do things that have not yet been considered by others. This "push" is essential in that sense, if we want to encourage innovative, creative, inspired citizens of our communities.
I also agree with Melanie in that every moment is precious of our teaching day. The DAP tool then becomes an essential, efficient tool for us teaching students common language along with consistent expectations - all the while saving us that precious time we never seem to have enough of. It then is up to us, our peers, our schools and our district to determine to what extend we want to maximize its use.
responding to guillorys ...I think the families are blown away by the expectations, but some are really responding. Good idea to share the rubrics!
For chapter 4, I appreciated pgs 29-30 stating that you have to set the standards, let the students know what the standards are, and provide examples to the students. As a professional adult, I appreciate when I am given clear, concise instructions and know what I am expected to complete or create. I think too often teachers give general assignments and then deduct points from the students who did not know. I like that the DAP tool allows teachers to differentiate grading for students who are on different levels. I teach academic economics to twelfth grade seniors and often have a range of abilities within a class that can go from a low level special education student to a high level AP student who wanted to have “an easy” senior year and opted to not take AP Macroeconomics. This tool provides a way for the teacher to addresses the differences and needs of the students. Page 32 insinuated that if you implement the DAP tool, students will rise to the occasion. I believe this to be true. Page 32 brought up that allowing students to create meaningful products will help them in the future because in real world people are often required to create products for their bosses. I really liked that the book provided visual pictures of the wire project that allowed us to see the different levels and the rational of the teacher’s grade.Chapter 5: I agree with page 53 that said it would be great if the entire school used the DAP tool because students would become accustomed to this assessment tool. Students are just like adults. We like uniformity and we like to know exactly what is expected from us. Another 12th grade teacher and I try to model similar practices since we teach a semester class and the students will probably end up having her after they have me. I like that there is a reflection component in the DAP tool. Too often the students become robots and do not take the time to reflect what was successful, not successful, what they understood, or what they need more help with.
I like that sanchezh commented that our greatest inventors, scientists, entrepreneurs are people who were not ok with status quo and took advantage of learning opportunities above and beyond the minimum. I can especially relate to this because I teach 12th grade economics. This is period of time in which the students are starting to think about what they might want to do with the rest of their lives. They also start deciding what projects they like and dislike and relate them to careers. Many of my students are able to see the differences in products and realize that the variety of effort level in the classroom is the same they will see in the real world.
As I read through the examples of the various performance levels it made me think of teaching 4th graders writing. I found it helpful to provided samples of good writing for my 4th grade students to aspire to the same high standard or higher. Rubrics are important in letting students know what is expected but I think the students still need good examples of the various levels, as found in our discussion book. I agree with the author, page 58, that by holding student work to a challenging level beyond their comfort level we tend see our students learn more.
@Rebecca J. As a new classroom teacher the one thing I had to learn was to allow time for my kids to reflect on their learning. It was interesting to see the student comments on pages 33-37 what they thought. A teacher can learn much from those student comments.
I really liked how it was suggested on p. 30 to work with other teachers in the school to establish uniform standards when using the DAP tool. I feel that when students have consistency in a school when the go from teacher to teacher, they are able to accomplish more. I agreed with the author on p. 32 how it was stated that you need to have two levels above proficient to challenge advanced students. I like how students were able to reflect on their wire projects. This self reflection allows students to gain a better understanding about what was successful and not successful. Overall, I really like how the tool allows teachers to adjust expectations for different learners based on individual abilities (p. 38). Throughout the chapters, the authors stress that you must maintain high standards, regardless of the level of the child. As a teacher, sometimes it is difficult to maintain high standards (especially when there is a push to get seniors graduated.) However, every teacher should always have high standards for all kids all of the time.
@CorrinI completely agree with you when you stated that students will rise to the occasion. Too many times students are frustrated and bored when teachers do not challenge them. Students who are adequately challenged are more likely to have higher self esteem because they are excited when they accomplish something that is meaningful and challenging. I also feel that the DAP tool allows for students to be challenged based on their interest.
I agree with christa when she stated,"Throughout the chapters, the authors stress that you must maintain high standards, regardless of the level of the child.Every teacher should always have high standards for all kids all of the time." I think this is one of the only way to get our children to be great thinkers now and then later in life. If our expectations/standards are not high, how can we expect our future leaders to strive to find solutions, think outside the box, or just create something new?
Chapter 4 provided good examples for each tier of the DAP tool. I really liked the pictures in order to illustrate the reasoning behind the score on the rating system. I also like that the same DAP tool can be used for all levels. Page 40-41 details that the class can do the same project, you would just start the individuals on various tiers by their preassessment. This allows me to not have to come up with varying projects for the different student levels as well as multiple rubrics - Yeah!Chapter 5 caught my attention at the end when on page 58 the author begins quoting and discussing how the 3 tiers mirror the 21st century skills. "need to demonstrate leadership and take responsibility for results, show intiative and resourcefulness, and be productive and accountable for their actions." - what teacher would not want their students to learn these attributes and apply them as they grow? Very powerful skills that would guarentee student achievement.
On page 48, to support their argument, the author’s quote Roberts & Inman by stating “high expectations are a must” and that “students must have high expectations for themselves”. Later in that same section, the author’s also say “students know they will be held to high standards and will work to meet those expectations.” Hmm…will they? I think some might: the bell curve students and some of the more competitive students behind and ahead of the curve, but I think this statement is too general and that some students won’t. The author’s seem to imply that using the strategies and the DAP tool will aid students in developing high expectations for themselves, but does not address how to make that happen if the strategies and the DAP tool fail. I suspect that both (stats & tool) will be useless for students who do not have personal high expectations. That being said, I found 2 resources that help me in addressing poor expectations in students in an effort to cause the intended results of the DAP tool in my students. One is an article from NPR titled “Students' View of Intelligence Can Help Grades” (see link below). The other is a book titled Mindsets by Carol Dweck.Students' View of Intelligence Can Help Gradeshttp://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=7406521
What strikes me over and over is the consistency of the DAP tool. If a school were to adopt this system overall, the students would have such a great knowledge of how to use it that upper grades could spend a lot more time pushing students to achieve higher performance standards. The students would also more between grade levels, teachers and subjects much easier because they would already know what the expectations were.I also like that there are levels above proficient for the students to strive to achieve. On page 32 the authors state that realizing these levels exist will cause "students to reconsider self-expectations". I think this is especially important for students who already have a college or career goal in mind. Once they see that striving to be better than average is something that will help them reach their goals, and that they will be rewarded for their efforts, they will start to internalize this expectation and make it their own.
I agree with S. Acevedo that not all kids will rise to the occasion. The world needs ditch diggers too, and some students seem more than happy to fill that role. I work hard to motivate my students by showing them what their hard work (or lack thereof) could lead too, but without some internal motivation, all of my theatrics are not going to help. I believe the authors were taking on a very optimistic view, and speaking generally. Thanks for the articles on addressing poor expectations in students.
Perhaps I was disassociating or something when I was reading these two chapters, but I kept wishing the authors would get to the point instead of talking around the DAP tools. First they told us about the four components, then we read about the next step being to examine the Performance Scales and the three tiers for differentiation (p. 29). I kept wishing they would just show us the thing! It was hard to bring it all together when I finally got to a partial example on page forty. It was so annoying that the content became secondary.
I agree with Rebecca J. that a common vocabulary helps simplify things in so many ways (p.52) As the DAP tool with its common language is used in more and more classrooms, it becomes easier to transfer the high expectations and the level of the product the students turn in. It also makes it easier to share with parents and other stakeholders as guillorys noted!
I really liked the performance scale information beginning on page 30-33. One statement that I particularly agree with is at the bottom of page 31, "Proficiency is an admirable goal if your students aren't there yet, however, proficiency is no goal at all for students who are almost at proficiency...". This reminds me a lot of something I tell my students although mine is on a much simpler scale. Our campus performs beautifully on TAKS every year, with passing rates at or close to 100% in everything. So, I don't have to focus so much on my students passing, but rather, we set our goal at the next level, commended. I hang that carrot out there for my students because I think it's nice for them to have a goal, however simple. Additionally, I think the Math Navigators program also agrees with this statement. If my students demonstrate mastery on a pre-test, I want to extend their thinking beyond where they already are.On page 32, I liked how the professional level for achievement was being related to athletes such as Tiger Woods or Wayne Gretsky, because I think this would also make it more understandable to the students just what is required at that level.One final section that really resonated for me was the section on preparing students for the 21st Century. I have so often heard that as teachers we are preparing our students for jobs that do not yet even exist, so I am pleased that this book connects how using the DAP tool can help address these issues.
In response to Christa, I agree wholeheartedly about trying to work with others in the building, especially when it's in a community like the one where I teach. Our parents do lots of communicating with each other and it's often difficult to incorporate something like this solo and get them to buy into it when you are the only one doing it.
On p. 53-54 I liked the "Differentiation with DAP Tools" steps 1-3: 1) Planning Question, 2) Preassessing Question, and 3) Differentiation Question. The author did a good job of breaking down the steps of differentiation and explained how the DAP Tool assists with this process.
In response to S. Acevado, I do agree that this book does seem to take for granted sometimes that all of our students will rise to meet our high expectations. You are right that we have some students who may not be as easily convinced as others to rise up. Thanks for the link and the book title. I read the article and am curious to check out the book Mindsets, as well.
I think the comment on page 52, that “students now share a common vocabulary” can be taken a step further to include that students share and own the knowledge of components for high quality work. This is a guide in their thinking that can challenge them to stretch their thinking and work capacity, as well as a springboard that may get them thinking outside the box. The DAP Tool helps teachers to guide students because of the insight provided in preassessments, work production and reflection of work products. The last sentence on page 52 also sums up the value of the DAP Tool for teachers.
On November 2, 2010 5:22 AM, Oliver commented on the difficulty of pre-assessing students. In elementary school students struggle to get through an interest inventory. It seems easier to use that information (when possible), along with observation of students’ work, behavior, and interaction with people and resources. For example, my really talented student in oral language won’t even turn in an interest inventory, even when given extra time in class to work on it. He wants to come and talk about it instead. Other students, well I’m just not sure. It seems interest is limited…but I know that isn’t it. I just can’t put my finger on what it is with some of them. Is there a cultural issue at play here with the Latina girls?
Patricet said on November 9, 2010 2:08 PM that the authors danced around the point of the DAP Tools. I agree, but must say that by reading the different in a non-linear manner made the book come alive as the tool that it is. It is hard to get my brain around all of it. I suppose if I wear it like a loose garment, it might be less intimidating.
Going through the Performance Levels and the Tiers of Learning was a real eye opener. How oftem have we done the one size fits all rubrics? Now, armed with this new knowledge, I can individualize not only what I do for my students, but how I assess them. Each student is not graded on how much money their parent spend on projects, but on what they do. Powerful stuff.
Several people commented on this part; and I agree with christa when she stated,"Throughout the chapters, the authors stress that you must maintain high standards, regardless of the level of the child.Every teacher should always have high standards for all kids all of the time." How often do we walk up and down the halls and see projects that are displayed that are full of incorrect information or other errors. However, because they look nice and the parents (I mean the students) did a great job on them, they are in the hall with a high grade. What real lesson has the student learned?
I agree with S.Acevedo about Pg. 48 that we should have high expectations of the students in order for them to rise to the expectations of the teacher and of themselves. They will become use to expect that of themselves if everyone does that too. It needs to be learned and become an interal motivational tool for all of us.