“Sean,

I know I’m behind in this but I want to get common assessments going in my school. Any advice on getting this going…how to get buy-in???”

SC Response

Great question. Short-term, common assessments are one of the “Mythical” best practices (as named by Lt. Gov. Dewhurst) that everyone knows about, but very few implement. There is a lot of advice on starting, but for the sake of time, I’m going to give you the short version.

First, hold your nose and jump in. Starting common assessments is a lot like learning to swim. You can take lessons, wear “water wings”, and stay in the shallow end of the pool. In other words, take it slow, purposeful and methodical. Or you can just jump in the deep end and let the survival instinct speed up the learning curve. My advice (as if this is going to surprise anyone who knows or works with me) is to jump in the deep end. The reason for this is that the benefits of the practice significantly outweigh the perceived comfort of going slow.

That being said, there is a significant learning curve, no matter if you go slow or fast. Therefore, as with most change, successful implementation hinges on leadership communication and will.
As for “buy-in,” the concept is over-rated. Most teachers will hate the practice to begin with. Which I completely understand, most things that are good for me, I’m not a big fan of initially (diet, exercise, saving money, etc.). The initial tests will be poorly written (if they are developed locally), and the initial results will be horrifyingly bad. The only good news is that things will get better, sooner rather than later.

Here is what you need to know. When you first implement the practice, your teachers will want to hang you. After the learning curve is long over and the data is making an impact on instruction, if you try to discontinue the practice, your teachers will want to hang you.

There is no time like the present, get started and call me if you want to discuss further.

Think. Work. Achieve.

Your turn…

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