The Thinking in Systems Thinking - check it out for a one page synopsis.
Step 1. Constructing Hypotheses or Models
We used causal loops and system archetypes to create models that might explain the uncredited situation (our problem)
Shifting the Burden quick fixes: blaming student motivation, creating packets for easy credit
Tragedy of the Commons lots of uncoordinated individual activity limiting gains for each teacher
Fixes that Fail making one person responsible for the assessment of an individual student, banking seat time
Escalation teachers vs. students using credit vs. behavior as weapons
Drifting Goals desire to give away credits over improving instruction
Credits used as weapons.
Quick fixes preferred over improving instruction.
Isolating assessment: single person's responsibility
Credits seen as commodity
Delays, delays, delays inherent in anything that addresses fundamental problem.
Step 2. Designing a way to Test Hypotheses or Model
Variables we could consider: presence of principles of learning, conferencing events and quality, reduce performance expectations, sending PID letters, creating incentive system.
Measure outcomes we could consider: progress on grids, looking at student work, report cards, attendance
Our preference for Step 2.
Variable > Monitoring, supporting and improving conferencing.
Outcome> Progress as measured on grids
Another interesting thing to do
Variable > PID letters
Outcomes > Progress as measured by latest round of report cards
What's next? Questions. What was missing?
Some were concerned that we did yet more analysis at the expense of getting better at helping teachers with conferencing. What will we do about helping teachers with conferencing, grids and learning plans?
Our litmus test was whether or not we had something robust enough to serve us until June rather than act in day-to-day mode. Do we have that? What is it?
If the message we are sending is "we are dancing as fast as we can," what new message is replacing that? What systems, structures and decision rules will be changed? Because if none of it is changed then we will get what we have always been getting.