Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Journal 5: Let High Standards Drive Creativity and Innovation

Let High Standards Drive Creativity and Innovation by Anita McAnear

In this article, Anita McAnear makes a very interesting connection between businesses and schools. She explains that the standards and regulations in business, although not a favorite of the companies involved, actually create a competitive atmosphere driven by a "positive cycle of creativity, innovation, and growth." She then makes the connection to educators and students. I love her idea of creative teams of teachers working together to "improve their practice and learning for students."

Q1: If teams of teachers and administrators did come together to establish standards, how would they assess whether these goals are realistically attainable by students?

A1: Perhaps teachers could try out these standards on students and adjust them based on the students' performance. If the standards are too low, they could be altered. If they seem too high, maybe the teachers and administrators could explore creative and innovative ways to reach the students with the difficult information through "online tools and resources."

Q2: Are standardized tests the best and only way to assess whether students are meeting the standards and benchmarks set in place?

A2: I don't think so. I don't necessarily have a solution, but maybe projects and other types of assessments could be utilized in order to assess students of various learning styles. I know with learning disabled students, often it is difficult to read and take a timed test. Perhaps they know the material, but are unable to display their knowledge simply because a standardized test doesn't allow them to present their mastery in the most efficient way possible. Hopefully, through a variety of assessments, teachers will have a better idea of how much their students are learning, and whether or not they are truly understanding the material and meeting the standards.

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