As I have been sharing, the debate about school effectiveness and student success so often centers around standardized tests and the teachers who teach, yet we ignore the box that the teacher is placed in, and the future life of the student after leaving the school system.
To have true student success, deductive logic tells us, that there must be at least four critical components:
Content is Relevant to Students’ Ultimate Needs and Goals
- Content is Taught at an Appropriate Time
Teachers are Knowledgeable about the Content
Teachers have Activities that are Efficient at Helping Students Learn
In our public system, the first 2 links of the chain is being defined by the standards, while the last links are clearly in the privy of the teacher. Although, I will argue that often the best teachers are the bold ones who also bring in new content that is important to their students, beyond what standards currently define. In either case, each of these 4 components must be at a sufficient level so that students truly succeed. If any one of these links is not sufficiently well done, then there will not be success for the student, unless the student finds the components outside of traditional schooling.
We spend the majority of our resources on improving our teachers, but the amount spent on improving the first two links of the chain within the realm of standards is minute in comparison. There are of course major reform movements that have occurred, but I think evidence would bare out that most of these have been more about political popularity than research of need, and the resources used to create them and improve them were still small in comparison to the resources used to implement them.
So I am trying to start this research, and find others who recognize the need of improving our standards if we are to truly have student success, such that no link will be broken.