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Adding the Grit Scale to School Data

I came across this great article on Edutopia by Nathan Barber on Adding the Grit Scale to School Data . This piece is showing how one school is investigating the possibility of measuring and teaching its students grit by adding Angela Duckworth's 12-item grit scale to the standard assessments. Schools already use a lot of data - from ERB scores and PSAT, ACT, and SAT information to AP exam results - to help shape and focus instruction each year. However, this data provides a glimpse into a few facets of students who are complex young men and women. Nathan is telling their story of how along with the leadership team, he began a search for a way to collect a different kind of data on their students, both current and incoming, that would help to understand them a little better, and would better equip them to put their students in a position to be successful. They decided to explore ways that Duckworth's research on grit, including her grit measurement scale, might help better serv
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Using Social and Emotional Data to Promote a Positive School Culture

I came across this great article on Edutopia by Victoria Curry and Mike Setaro on how school leaders can combine traditional data with social and emotional data to get a full picture of the school experience of students and staff. It’s centered around Warm data that gives both dimension and measure to an individual’s and group’s social and emotional status. Opposite to Cool data points, that are a series of structural data sets such as enrollment, attendance, and academic proficiency that typically are the bedrock of school-based analytics. They talk about various examples of Warm data points among them on a matrix with different degrees of pleasantness and energy before engaging in learning (inspired by Mark Brackett’s work). These points can and should be captured, measured and visualized. The insights from this data should be of utmost importance for leaders to find strategies that capture and leverage information related to SEL and interpersonal skills. Harnessing this level of und

Voice & Aspirations Briefs: 8 Conditions

Please read this great article and associated paper from The Quaglia Institute for School Voice and Aspirations (QISVA) that focuses on Voice and Aspirations for our students. It introduces the 8 Conditions that make a difference and help educators ensure that the work they are already doing fosters an environment characterized by positive relationships, engaged learning, and a sense of purpose. Those eight conditions are organized into 3 guiding principles, Self Worth, Engagement and Purpose that should be lived out in the classrooms and schools. It’s a very neat and effective way of ensuring that our focus is not only on academia and helps to nurture the whole student environment. In an era of educational policy that changes almost daily, schools must be grounded in a set of principles that are solidly based on research and that provide a practical, common sense approach to professional growth and learning. As they state: “When students and teachers have high aspirations, they have

How To Speak With Families and Communities About MTSS

I came across this great article from Branching Minds on how to describe MTSS and Tiers of Support to families and communities. MTSS has become very popular among international schools over the last few years and it is now widely applied. However, the level of understanding among families and communities is limited. As Brittany Shurley, the author of the article, writes: “MTSS, and all the jargon that goes with it, is very specialized. Over the years, I have heard from families that they feel discouraged or left out of meetings because they are unclear what is happening to their child or what their child needs. To ensure that all parties understand our process, it’s essential to communicate what MTSS is with our parents/guardians (families) and communities regarding their child.” In the very comprehensive entry, she describes many aspects of MTSS and how to explain it, from what is a Multi-Tiered System of Supports and what exactly does the acronym “MTSS” mean, through the need of sha

Using Student-Generated Questions to Promote Deeper Thinking

Please read this fascinating article posted on Edutopia ; U nderstanding how people learn and reliably commit things to memory is what prompted psychology professor Mirjam Ebersbach and her colleagues at the University of Kassel to study how students prepare for an exam, and what strategies yielded the optimal improvements in student learning. Learn how asking students to create their own questions has a powerful impact on learning. “Question generation promotes a deeper elaboration of the learning content,” Ebersbach told Edutopia. “One has to reflect what one has learned and how an appropriate knowledge question can be inferred from this knowledge.” Plus, 5 tips to encourage high-quality questions and ideas to incorporate student-generated questions into your classroom. I especially love the idea of playing Jeopardy with students! To create the game, specialized software isn’t even necessary: The researchers in the study used the wiki feature in the class’s learning management syste

Social-Emotional Learning Is Important. But What Do All Those SEL Terms, Actually Mean for the Classroom?

Social and emotional learning (SEL) is on the map. There is solid evidence that SEL matters a great deal for important life outcomes including success in school. Yet, amid a wide array of effective programs and approaches to draw upon, challenges still remain. One major area of ongoing concern is that SEL goes by many names, and the terminology can be confusing and misleading, ultimately impeding efforts to achieve meaningful results. Throughout its history, the field of social and emotional learning (SEL) has been defined or characterized in a variety of ways. In some respects, the term SEL serves as an umbrella for many subfields with which many educators, researchers, and policy-makers are familiar (e.g., bullying prevention, civic and character education and development, conflict resolution, social skills training, life skills, “soft” or “non-cognitive” skills, 21st century skills). However, discussion of this broad non-academic domain lacks clarity about what we mean and is beset

Rethinking Data: How to Create a Holistic View of Students

For at least a decade now, the driving force behind education reform has been data. We talk about collecting data, analyzing data, and making data-driven decisions. All of this data can certainly be useful, helping us notice patterns we might not have seen without aggregating our numbers in some way, looking for gaps and dips and spikes, allowing us to figure out where we are strong and where we need help. In terms of certain academic behaviors, we can quantify student learning to some extent and improve our practice as a result. And yet, we know this is not enough. We know our students bring with them so many other kinds of data. So many other factors contribute to academic success: the atmosphere in their homes, the demands of their out-of-school schedule, the physical concerns that distract them, the passions and obsessions that consume them. While these things tend to be much harder to measure, some schools often don’t even try, focusing instead on the things we can convert to numb

What Data Can’t Do

I came across this fascinating article from the The New Yorker that really speaks volumes about how careful we have to be when it comes to using and visualizing data. Whenever you try to force the real world to do something that can be counted, unintended consequences abound. The COVID pandemic demonstrated just how vulnerable the world can be when you don’t have good statistics, and the US Presidential election filled our newspapers with polls and projections, all meant to slake our thirst for insight. The same applies to education where knowing what to measure, but also why you want to measure it, is the primary hurdle to tackle. We all have a tendency to naturally trust data as it aims to represent something we are observing. However there are times when simply even solid data is not enough for decision making. That’s why the context, the aim, and the balance between quantitative and qualitative data is so important. As the article states: “The great psychologist Daniel Kahneman, w

Demystifying Student Data for Parents

I came across this great article posted on Edutopia on how a teacher at an elementary school shares student data with parents so they can help their kids with homework. Parents are used to seeing school reports but this teacher took it further. She has organized Parent Data Nights, events where she meets with each parent to demystify the reports, explain acronyms, test scores, and trouble areas for their child, as well as providing tips and tricks for helping their student at home. This type of work is becoming a new standard. It is no longer a question of IF but WHEN. These days Parents need to be engaged and data is an essential part of it. Parents are often confused about the school reports and results that are being shared either for their own children or wider statistics for the whole school and cohort. Having a data-informed culture also means getting this information to parents in a timely and accessible manner. Have a read and see if this might work for you and your school!

The Simple Genius of a Good Graphic

New graphics and data visualizations are emerging every day trying to portray the data and reality that surrounds us. However, like most things in the world, it is the law of Occam's razor that sets the bar. It is a principle of theory construction or evaluation according to which, other things equal, explanations that posit fewer entities, or fewer kinds of entities, are to be preferred to explanations that posit more. Or in other words the simplest solution is usually the best. This is especially true with graphics and data visualizations, a lot of times one can spend endless hours designing a new dashboard that no one is looking at later, simply because it is either too complicated or it's not answering the questions users want to pursue. Whether that is in education or not, we strive to present the information in the simplest way to enable teachers and schools take data-informed actions to ultimately benefit the learners. In this short, 5 min TED talk that is part history

Sharing Data to Create Stronger Parent Partnerships

I am continuing the thread from a previous post about Humboldt Elementary School that tells the story of a school’s data journey. This is a short video that dives into how the school has decided to engage Parents by using data. By sending home detailed data reports that foc us on a specific skill, Humboldt Elementary School opens a two-way line of communication with parents about their child's learning. This move has not only enabled parents to have a deeper understanding of their children's performance but also empowers them to do something about their learning. The video includes interviews with parents and how they interact with the school’s data reports and how it helps them understand their child’s growth and progress. It’s very inspiring to witness that simply by seeing the progress on simple charts has give both the students and parents further motivation to continue the work they have been doing at home. Quality data, visualized in an accessible, intuitive way, are not

Atlas Protocol - Looking at data

The Atlas Protocol is one of the most commonly used structured dialogue formats among schools to facilitate a conversation about data for teachers and other members of the faculty. Learning from Data is a tool to guide groups of teachers discovering what students, educators, and the public understands and how they are thinking. The tool, developed by Eric Buchovecky, is based in part on the work of the Leadership for Urban Mathematics Project and of the Assessment Communities of Teachers Project. The tool also draws on the work of Steve Seidel and Evangeline Harris-Stefanakis of Project Zero at Harvard University. The protocol gives a detailed step by step guide on how to prepare and conduct a healthy, productive conversation about and with use of data. It starts with a selection of datasets that do not lead to a single conclusion and generally lead to rich conversations. From that point forward, the protocol describes 6 stages the group has to follow with the help of a facilitator in

Using Data to Support Teacher and Student Growth

I came across this great video posted on Edutopia on how by tracking progress and building on it, a New Orleans preschool creates a culture of improvement for the whole school. It shows how the school is utilizing data by creating a cycle of continuous learning - How and why teachers collect data to assess areas for student growth and how that data, in turn, is being used to support the development of classroom teachers. Teachers now say “Data drives everything we do!” It's a fantastic example of how data culture enhances learning and provides tools for teachers for immediate intervention and places resources where they are needed most. The school realized that for them to be successful and provide high quality learning, they had to embrace a data culture! It’s about collecting evidence, facts about your learners and then taking action upon it. You can watch the full video here .

LAC School Spotlight - International School of Beijing

International School of Beijing (by Ruth Poulsen, Director of Curriculum and Assessment, ISB) THE SCHOOL Number of students: 1700 Grades: EY-12 Number of faculty: 200 Curriculum: IB DP, Common Core Accredited by: CIS Joined LAC in 2019 School Year  THE CHALLENGE What was the challenge the school was facing? ISB is very rich in the amount of data we collect, but we found that a challenge was that we were housing that data in various places. LAC gave us one place to start visualizing all of our data in one place. Why was LAC chosen? We started with another company at first, but LAC’s visualizations were much cleaner and easier to understand. We really loved the individual student reports which visualize various kinds of data side by side. HOW IS THE LAC PLATFORM BEING USED NOW Who uses the platform at the school? Our leadership team looks at schoolwide data together twice a year, once in October and once in June. Teacher leaders in various subject areas look at programmatic data once or

Wellbeing, Relationships and Teaching as a Caring Profession?

I came across this fascinating article in “The International Educator” that is very poignant for the current conversations taking place on Wellbeing, especially among International Schools. In this article Mark G. Harrison, Stephen E. Chatelier and Elke M. Van Dermijnsbrugge are discussing what is meant by “wellbeing” in schools, situating its current rise within the context of a broader school culture. They then go on to suggest that when wellbeing becomes a task for teachers to perform within a culture of accountability and customer satisfaction, rather than something deeply connected to the human relations of care, its achievement is unlikely and, indeed, an increased focus on wellbeing might even be detrimental. Wellbeing has become without a doubt an area of ever increasing focus for schools across the world. Given that teaching has generally been understood as a caring profession, this may not come as a surprise. And, given that the apparent need for wellbeing interventions has a