I was recently talking to a group of teachers and administrators about the lack of critical writing that occurs in classrooms and relating how it was Mike Schmoker who actually brought this to my attention just prior to his publishing the book “Results Now.” A quick aside, every educator needs to read that book. If you haven’t yet, that is your LYS reading assignment for the upcoming Spring break.

One of the AP’s ran to her office and brought back a summary of Schmoker’s findings (and earned 12 brownie points in the process). Here is what Schmoker saw in 1,500 schools across the nation in the early 2000’s:

  • Classrooms with a clear and evident learning objective – 4%
  • Instruction using high yield strategies – 0.2%
  • Instruction at the higher levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy – 3%*
    * I assume that Schmoker meant work at the Synthesis and Evaluation levels.
  • Classrooms where students were engaged in critical writing – 0%
  • Classrooms using worksheets – 52%
  • Classrooms engaged in non-instructional activities – 35%

Now let’s cut to Texas in the Fall of 2009. Here are the results of over 60 unannounced campus instructional audits:

  • Classrooms with a clear and evident learning objective – 22% (Better)
  • Instruction using high yield strategies – 15% (Better)
  • Instruction at the higher levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy – 1%* (Worse)
    * I assume that Schmoker meant work at the Synthesis and Evaluation level.
  • Classrooms where students were engaged in critical writing – 4% (Better)
  • Classrooms using worksheets – 33% (Better)
  • Classrooms engaged in non-instructional activities – 12% (Better)

Now let’s cut to those same 60 (but now LYS) campuses in the month of January. Each of the campuses worked with one or more LYS Coaches during the Fall semester.

  • Classrooms with a clear and evident learning objective – 76% (Awesome)
  • Instruction using high yield strategies – 23% (Significant Improvement)
  • Instruction at the higher levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy – 5%* (Improved). The assumption is that Schmoker meant the Synthesis and Evaluation level. However, if Analysis is included, then these campuses are at 18%, which is an incredible improvement.
  • Classrooms where students were engaged in critical writing – 28% (Awesome)
  • Classrooms using worksheets – 10% (Significant Improvement)
  • Classrooms engaged in non-instructional activities – 3% (Awesome)

The point being is that on our own we are not nearly as effective and efficient as we believe. Yet, improved instruction is well within the reach of any campus. All it requires is desire, coaching and discipline. The proof is in just three months worth of data.

Think. Work. Achieve.
Your turn…

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