Saturday, October 22, 2016

The Focus Trap

As an adult, it's easy to fall into a pattern. 

We all do it. Wake up, brush teeth, get dressed, go to work, drink coffee, ...

As a data nerd,
I have an irrational
craving for patterns

Patterns are fine. They're comfortable. Reassuring. We know what to expect. But there comes with patterns a hidden danger. It's easy to focus on procedures, which can take many forms. Take the same route to work every morning. Deliver the same learning in the same way. Assess understanding in the same way.

But that's dangerous. What if my pattern of assessment doesn't match my students' pattern of learning? Am I getting accurate assessment information, or am I missing something? Would I see different things if I looked at the situation in a new way?

Don't focus on one specific outcome.

Or, more accurately, don't focus solely on outcomes. Focus on the learning. How will students navigate new problems?

Are you assessing their problem-solving strategies, or are you measuring their ability to memorize?