Integrating the Arts

posted in: Arts, Assessment, Reform | 0

In a recent post on the EdWeek blog, Matthew Lynch talks about the loss of the arts as subjects, and the use of the arts as integrated into other subjects. Before getting too enthusiastic about this approach, it is important to remember that integration of the arts requires common planning, implementing, and assessment. When the arts are placed in the classroom as full partners, student learning increases.

The arts have always had a secondary place in K-12 learning. If you doubt that statement, think of the first programs to go whenever budget cuts are implemented – music, fine arts and even physical fitness which includes dance. I’ve yet to hear of a school board or administrators discussing the way cutting math programs could help the school’s bottom line. There is a hierarchy of academics in America, and arts education tends to fall pretty low on the totem pole.

Google’s Assessment System

posted in: Assessment | 0

Assessment should help us know what our goals are, how well we are making progress toward those goals, and the evidence of our progress. Although this seems easy to say, systems of assessment that work well and are understandable are hard to find. Here is an excellent example from the company named Google.

When Google was less than a year old, John Doerr, one of its investors, made a presentation pitching the company on using a organizational system called Objectives and Key Results, or OKRs. The OKR system came from Intel. Google took to OKRs pretty much immediately and has been using it ever since.

Common Core Steamroller

posted in: Assessment, Reform | 0

Fred Smith, retired analyst, has testified about the Common Core steamroller that is over-running New York State parents and students. In his testimony in front of the New York State Senate Standing Committee on Education on 10/29/13 he documents with graphs that “raise questions about the scales being used to weigh student achievement and the veracity of the [NYState] ELA and Math results.”