In response to the 11/9/2012 post, “The Common Assessment Process,” a reader writes:

Your approach brings back memories of what I was taught in my industrial engineering class – i.e. random process sampling. Have you considered the possibility that the job of schools is not to “manufacture” students?

I recommend viewing the following video of presentation given by Sir Ken Robinson

SC Response Loved the video! Everyone in educator should listen to Sir Ken Robinson every chance they get. I put him on the same tier as Michael Fullan.

I don’t disagree that the common assessment process has considerable similarities to random process sampling.  But you missed the purpose of the sampling.  My goal is not to “manufacture students.” My goal is to optimize systems to produce increasing numbers of critical thinkers and complex problem solvers. Which means that the schools we work with aren’t getting bogged down in segregating students into groups of “can do’s and can’t do’s.”  The schools we work with are attempting to identify the mix of teacher practices that maximize student success.  You see, here is the dirty little secret in education, the quality of delivered instruction across instructional settings is uniform. Unfortunately, it is uniformly mediocre (and for those out there who don’t believe this, I’ll match our 300,000+ classroom observations against anyone’s opinion).

The result of this uniformity is this: Mediocre instruction with groups of mid to high SES students produces acceptable scores on accountability tests.  This same level of instruction with low SES students produces unacceptable scores on accountability tests.  However, when you look at schools that significantly and consistently outperform their peers (a rare occurrence) you generally find functioning components of The Foundation Trinity and/or atypical instructional practices.   Which means that there are two significant factors that dictate student performance.

1. SES status, which we cannot control.   

2. Adult practice, of which we have near complete control.

Hence, if there is anything that I want to manufacture, it is a cadre of exemplar teachers and exemplar school leaders. I already know what the ranks of the ordinary can do.

Think. Work. Achieve. Your turn…

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