Monday, December 7, 2009

Feedback loops or vicious cycles?

Suppose you're in a position to design and disseminate K-12 academic curricula, and that you believe strongly that this curricula should teach students skill X. Suppose, furthermore, that data shows that students are deficient in skill X. Suppose, finally, that you believe that emphasizing A, B, and C will teach skill X. So you design and disseminate a k-12 academic curriculum that emphasizes A, B and C. New data then emerges that shows that students are still deficient in skill X; some of the data suggests that the problem is getting worse.

What do you do at this point?

1. Reform the curriculum so that it puts an even greater emphasis on A, B, and C?

2. Question your initial belief that emphasizing A, B, and C will teach skill X, and try a new strategy?


X = "higher level thinking skills"
A = explaining how you solved problems
B = "reflecting" on your learning process
C = "inquiry" and "argumentation" over specific content
"You" = a member of the current education establishment


Joanne Jacobs said...

You left out the third option:

Argue that skill X can't be measured by tests and therefore may be improving invisibly.

The fourth option:

Argue that skill X is irrelevant for 21st century students. They really need skill Z.

Mrs. C said...

OO, that was a good comment. Wish I thought of it. :]