In response to the 1/29/2015 post, Does the Passing Standard Matter,” a LYS Central Office Administrator writes:

I have thought a lot about these posts. I do have mixed feelings but agree with some points that you and the other writer make.

But I also hear the voices of our teachers and principals. A checkpoint (common assessment) passing standard of 70% is tough. This seems to set teachers up for failure instead of providing positive encouragement that goes miles!!

My questions:

1. Why don’t we set our checkpoint standard at the state standard?  This is much lower than a more traditional 70%. Wouldn’t this provide them some kind of small intrinsic motivation and allow us to see small gains in acceptable scores?  

2. Is there a way we can compromise and run the scores BOTH ways?

SC Response You have to ask yourself a couple of questions. For example:

A. In my leadership role, what is more important? Student success or teacher feelings?

If student success is more important, then you focus on maximizing student success, even in the face of adult discomfort.

If teacher feelings are more important, then you focus on teacher comfort, even in the face of diminished student opportunity.

Just know in the short run, it is one or the other.  In the long run, the only way to ensure both is to focus on student success.

B. How dumb is my staff?

Small gains are small gains.  If our target is to get to 70%, then having overall scores improve from 40% of the questions answered correctly to 50% of the questions answered correctly is a 10-point increase.  Admirable growth and worthy of celebration. But, nowhere near where we eventually want (need) to be. If somehow you can fool your staff into believing that a 45% is good and that somehow we are exceeding expectations then go for it. But my teachers and principals were smarter than that and I would like to believe that so are yours.

As for compromise, in this case I’m not a fan.  It seems that in schools when we compromise on adult practice… it is our most fragile students that pay the price.

Think. Work. Achieve. Your turn…

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