In response to the 4/22/2011 post, “Common Assessment Data Analysis – Part 2,” Doc Seabolt continues with: When I say at first let kids choose their level of differentiation, the operative words are “at first.” Combined with a concept like Game On, most kids will strive for more. However, if a student is observed consistently choosing below their ability level, the instructor must step in and make better decisions for the student. I recently saw a classroom doing TAKS review problems on fire with competition, and the instructor wasn’t even trying to make the kids compete, they did it naturally. The good use of formative assessment and reinforcing effort and success immediately and energetically lit the students on fire. Of course the teacher leading the class is truly extraordinary, but any teacher can learn the techniques. SC Response Great clarification. Student failure, often the result of student choice, is the equivalent to the check engine light signal on a dashboard. Something needs attention and adjustment. Anybody can deliver content. But the artistry in the classroom occurs when every students “chooses” to engage and strives for success. The more at-risk the student, the bigger the role of the teacher in that “choice” equation. Which is why you have to put your absolute best teachers in front of your most difficult students. To not do so places the comfort of adults ahead of the needs of students. Making that particular staffing decision is one of the first critical steps in the transition from good principal to great principal. Survive it (yes, this does come with some risk) and the discussions and actions of the campus inherently become more student-centric. Avoid it and your campus is always leaving performance on the table. This idea is not unique. It mirrors the exemplar business practice of putting your best people in the areas with the most untapped potential. Which is a very profitable way to operate and continuously grow. If we simply viewed student results as “profits,” then a lot of our decision-making would be more cut and dried. Think. Work. Achieve. Your turn… Call Jo at (832) 477-LEAD to order your campus set of “The Fundamental 5: The Formula for Quality Instruction.” Individual copies available on! Follow Sean Cain and LYS on