In response to the post, “Credit Recovery / Failure Prevention,” a reader writes:
“Sean, can you (or the LYS readers) give us an elementary version of this?”
First, LYS readers, the call has been made for your ideas. Send them in.
Now, I think the concept is similar with elementary, you just have to make sure you follow some key practices.
Practice 1: Three week progress reporting. Reviewing and reporting student progress at short-term intervals is a good practice. Responding with meaningful support and interventions for students who are either near failing, or failing, based on those reports is an excellent practice. What you have to guard against is when you mandate that “near failing” requires teacher action, grades often magically rise to just above the “action” point.
Practice 2: Common grading parameters. Whether you use a common scope and sequence, common assessments, common rubrics, or some combination of the three, you have to make sure that assigned grades are consistent from class to class. Feel good grading practices create numerous detrimental, unintended consequences.
Practice 3: Academic support center. Pick a location, staff it with somebody, and open it when students are on campus, but nothing academic is scheduled (before school, lunch, after school). Give students a place where they can complete work, ask questions, and practice skills.
For elementary schools, I would assume that the big caveats would be the consideration of developmental levels in grades K, 1, & 2, and the issue of recess.
First, I know that developmental levels are a legitimate concern. However, I have also observed that developmental levels seem to be locally determined. What is developmentally impossible on one campus is standard fare on another campus. Many developmental issues are often adult driven. For example, student nap time is actually adult rest time. But try explaining that to the staff that still schedules naps everyday.
Second, is the question of recess. I’m not for or against recess, and both sides of that debate make compelling arguments. But, what I am not for, is taking students out of recess on a regular basis to address remediation concerns. Finishing an occasional assignment is appropriate; doing math facts for a month is not. Find other chunks of time to more formally support identified students.
Again, it is much easier to fix problems earlier, rather than later. It is better for students and for your campus to prevent failure in the first place. If you are already doing something effective and pro-active, the other LYS readers want to know about it.
Think. Work. Achieve.