Saturday, March 05, 2005

Credits - Thought Experiment2

How many distinct statements are in our performance expectations? Hundreds?

What if we limited each page to one statement -- only one expectation per page -- and this was tied to our 40 credits?

In that way,
1. We have a link between credits and some meaning we attach to them.
2. We have a built in metric for school improvement - how many more statements can we add for the second graduating class, the third, and so on ?
3. We have very few things to norm.

One (not the only) reason we have so many performance expectations was to give flexibility. But perhaps there are too many choices. Having too many things "up for grabs" is ultimately debilitating. It doesn't help as we intended it too, it stresses out everyone.

Check this link for a review by Orson Scott Card of the book "The Paradox of Choice" by Barry Schwartz.



SAM said...

Al writes:

I think this is too simplistic -- this is swinging the pendulum the other way too hard.

Also, it feels like we'd be lowering our expectations in order graduate our kids.

Now, that having been said, I think that this is what many folks have been saying for a while. I remember several conversations (with Phil, Vernon, and Kevin in particular) that revolved around the expectations being too much. As a tool they'd definately be easier to use if they were simplified.

Another thing to think about is the staff's perception. From last week's PD, I know that Donna is concerned about how it "will look" if suddenly our 11th graders start earning more credits than they have been to date. How might the staff respond? Will they be relieved at NOT having to use the current unweildy expectations? Or will they be unhappy at the perception of lowered standards?

Finally, does this all matter? Would it be better to have kids who we know were good at a limited number of things or kids who we know were good at somethings, but not others and we really can't say which is which?

SAM said...

Michael responds..

How can you be pleased with giving away credits but then think going minimalist on the standards is swinging too far? That's just a point of curiousity. My real interest is in a response to what follows.

All facets of this response beg the question: how does one evaluate a strategy? What's implied in these responses (if I were to infer what the "rubric" was) would be this:

1.pendulum swing: Our solution cannot appear to be too different than what we are doing now.

2. too simplistic: Our solution should not be simple. It should be complex or more complex.

3. feeling of lowered expectations: Our solution must not create the feeling of lowering expectations. It must seem like the expecations are the same.

4. staff perception: Our solution must satisfy the staff that it is not sending the wrong message to kids.

The question is, if we were to write a rubric right now for what our key strategy would be, would it have these criteria? If not these criteria, then what?