Adventures and Lessons in Mentoring New Teachers

Goal #2 – Re-Evaluate Value

February 14th 2011 in 30 Goals, Philosophy of Teaching

Goal 2: Re-Evaluate Value #30Goals

What is value?  In our schools these days, especially high school, most seem to define value with a numeric code … “did I earn enough points for an A? … How many points do I need to complete/pass the test? … What is the score needed for graduation?”  Do we ever ask – anymore – what is the value of learning this concept? What is the goal of learning?  Maybe we really do need a paradigm shift … a new look at how we assess students and what value we place on their work.  Value Quote

When we place a number or score on an assignment, we are allowing students to stop learning.  Because the assignment, writing, project has a numeric grade on it, it must be finished.  Maybe that is the ultimate lesson?  As teachers, we seem to have accepted the idea that observation ratings are final scores.  Yet in reality, when we score teachers on the rubric, what are we truly asking them to do?  The VALUE is in the reflection … can we learn from what we receive.  Can we take and improve what we think we have mastered?

So what do we do?  For this goal … there are 2 areas to consider (per Sherry Terrell).

Short-term- Change the way you assess one assignment or project and try to assess in a way that doesn’t add a numerical value but has the student seek value in the progress made, the learning achieved, or the work put into it. For the teachers on holiday, like in Argentina, just reflect on how you will change the assessment process of a project. Alternatively, think about a way to help students re-evaluate how they value themselves. Is it only through a number?

Long-term- In what ways can we help our students re-evaluate the way they value themselves? What changes to assessment can we make to have students reflect more on the learning journey instead of being programmed to place value only on the score?

“Everything that can be counted does not necessarily count; everything that counts cannot necessarily be counted.”
by Albert Einstein

Related links with ideas!

How do show your success on this goal?  Respond in one of the following ways:


•    Re-evaluate how you will assess at least one assignment! Please share with us your thoughts!
•    Post thoughts / reflections my district Conference Site.
•    Consider responding on my blog … http://sylviaellison.edublogs.org/
•    Post on Twitter … @SylviaEllison, #30Goals

Enjoy!!!  Let’s inspire others to greatness together!

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2 comments to...
“Goal #2 – Re-Evaluate Value”

Cynthia Britten

Wow! The article “Your Brain on The Internet” was a brain awakener (is that a word?) this morning. The fact that students will produce higher quality work if they know that peers will be assessing it is too powerful to just let it go. My brain is on…..not sure where it will go but it is on…

Sylvia Ellison

Yeah! Thanks Cynthia. I agree that students can motivate even more than adults. My brain is on too … I have actually been told it may explode with all that I am learning. Keep on keeping on with me. :-)


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Goal #1 … Be a Beam!

To be honest, I may use some of the wording, images, and challenges provided by Sherry Terrell and Lisa Dabbs.  So please indulge me as I work with you to be an inspiration to those around me. :-)

When I thought about the concept of “being a beam,” I thought immediately [...]

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Goal 3: What Do You Believe About Learning? #30Goals
Recently, I am sure you have been asked a question similar to this.  Have you taken time to truly contemplate your answer?  With the new observation rubric, peer/mentor evaluators and administrators are no longer focused on teaching except when it impacts student learning.  We, myself included, have [...]

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