5.19: The Overall Concept
The discussion turns to the issue of teachers' understanding why these assessments are being used--what "the overall concept" is. One of the representatives suggests it would be helpful for teachers to know "that they're going to get some type of feedback from what they're giving." Bill responds that it is "strange situation"--if you explain too much ahead of time,he says, it might not really make sense. "You almost gotta get down and do it," Bill suggests, before people really understand. The principal concurs, saying that even the AALT did not fully comprehend what was going on until Bill showed the data charts and graphs. An AALT member articulates the key challenge: Helping teachers understand that "you can use this to help you guide your instruction."
Bill Mark? T I came right out of the common planning. I left this meeting to go to the common planning and came back to it and I told them what we were doing in here. And they were surprised because they really didn't have an overall concept of what all of these tests, the results were being done with these tests. That was the first thing, so I think maybe explaining this to them before they're given the tests, in advance earlier on in the year so that they know that there's a-- that they're going to get some type of feedback from what they're giving, directly. That was one thing and then the other thing was-- Bill Mark , can I interrupt you, just for one second, cause it's a strange contra-- situation you face, because on the one hand, if you start something like this and you explain too much (T: Right) people will just get more and more confused and it's almost like-- I don't know that they'll ever understand it until Tuesday when they see-- (Principal: Monday) Monday when everything kind of comes together they see the results and they can look at the progress over the year. It's hard, you almost gotta get down and do it (T: Right), before people-- and then-- but you got to have something like this; you have to bring it to closure. Principal Yeah, but I think even us in here. We knew what we were doing all along, but we never dreamed that we'd see something like this, today. We all knew we were assessing beginning, middle and end and we know that Mia was getting tallies and Bill was helping us out, but I think that we were all beyond pleasantly surprised seeing this. I mean, we're all going to go out and party (laughter). So-- and we who are the AALT who are dealing with it, I can just imagine what you know the teachers (?). I think Tuesday-- Monday (laughter) I think Monday this will really drive it home for everybody. T I wanted to piggy back on that because (?) same grade level and knowing how our people might feel at our grade level, I think that it's very important we as AALT members or grade level chairs or whatever, we need to maybe give them an idea of what the assessment is doing for them, not so much to look at in the document, but that it is a valuable tool for you as a teacher to know where you need to go next. If you don't see the value of assessment and all it is to you is a final product, then I don't see-- I can see why you would be frustrated in having to give it (?). If we can spin it in a way, if we can get them to see that oh, you can use this to help you guide your instruction, if the focus is there, and I don't how you would say that, to get that message across, but, I am thinking if they saw that, then they wouldn't be as uptight about doing it.