I like Malcolm Gladwell’s stuff. I especially liked his book, Outliers: The Story of Success. In Outliers, Gladwell addresses the question of what makes high-achievers successful. And he cites some of the research by Anders Ericsson demonstrating that to become an expert at something, a person needs to devote 10,000 hours practicing and working on that one thing.
Gladwell made the idea seem plausible. Even doable. And it sounds like a great idea. Work hard at something long enough and you get good at it. Even great at it.
But a recent book by Daniel Goleman debunks the 10,000 hour “mythology” and suggests a more complex truth behind Gladwell’s simplistic take on the theory. In Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence, Goldman says the 10,000 hour idea is only half true. Read more
As we move into a social studies world that is asking kids to collect evidence, organize evidence, create products, and communicate results, writing skills are becoming more and more important.
But for the last ten years or so, at least in the state of Kansas, we’ve asked kids to focus instead on memorizing content. So now when we’re asking our middle school and high school students to not just write more but to use evidence while proving assertions, we get a lot of blank stares.
My suggestion? Read more
With an awesome name like Bruce VanSledright, you know the guy just has to have his arms wrapped around what quality assessment looks like. I have seen some of his earlier stuff but haven’t heard his thoughts on assessment.
So we’ll see. I have faith.
The idea is that we can use the NCSS College, Career, and Civic Life standards to help use figure out good assessment stuff. Bruce starts out by highlights problems with past and current bubble, MC type tests that focus on foundational knowledge.
These “traditional” kinds of tests are great at measuring the capacity of students to memorize details, to recall isolated knowledge bits, assessments are often designed to actually measure the reliability of the tests themselves, and – just a little tongue in cheek – to measure our ability to teach to the test.
Bruce says that much of what we can do with the actual data from these sorts of tests is pretty limited. They provide no timely formative information. And rarely is the data actually tied to individual students any way.
So how can the NCSS standards help us re-think assessment? Read more