Most students learn how to work the educational system to their advantage or how to get out of school assignments. Students not challenged, or too challenged will not do their assignments. Educators need to confirm the research and make sure students are supported with their assignments. Teachers can make sure assignments are clear by having them accompanied by a well written and peer-reviewed rubric. The rubric provides clarity which is important and beneficial. No student should start the high-quality assignment without the rubric. Because without the rubric confused students will give up quickly or be labeled troublemakers or told they do not listen which leads to apathy and disengagement.
"Rubrics help students focus their efforts on completing assignments in line with clearly set expectations."
Interested in rubrics? Check out this resource
Supported students know the teacher cares for them. But, when a student gets a low grade, and it's acceptable what message does it say about the learning environment or tell the student? How can educators' assure all students receive 76% or above on their assignments? What happens when a student receives a zero? Are students required and supported to hand in the assignment until a certain grade is achieved? Check out the Power of ICU
When the school culture is about student learning, then student assignments must be authentic and engaging. When students redo their assignments, there must be support from the staff. Whenever there is a high expectation for student learning, then there are no free rides such as zeros. Some school cultures are not about student learning. Instead, the culture focuses on student compliance and lightly on academics. We need to take a deep look at our culture, the academic standards and ask ourselves what a grade means in our school building? Here is a quote to ponder,
"Only leaders can have visions that might change the culture. Cultures do not lead; leaders lead. If the culture is leading, then the leader is only managing." (Gruenert, S., & Whitaker, T. 2015, pg.31).
John Hattie has a lot of research-based ideas. which help clarify high impact teaching for student learning. High impact student learning can save teacher time. Do you have someone you know that never has the time? Hattie invites us to use high impact learning such as problem-solving and mastery learning not inquiry-based. See graph.
In conclusion, the evidence spotlights how high expectations, student-teacher relationships, authentic and engaging, high-quality assignments, and rubrics support student learning. Just as important students should be directed and supported to go back and make corrections until they reach at least a 76 percent on their assignments. In the end, this sends a non-biased picture to students and parents that teachers care and are willing to support every student through every assignment. If you are an educational leader who appreciates high-end learning, then ask your building leadership team to see the percentage of students receiving 76% and above on assignments. Even better ask for a summary of how many zeros have been given out during the present nine weeks on assignments. Do you notice a trend? What does the data say? Does it reflect how student learning is the culture in your building?
Arter, J., and J. Chappuis. 2007. Creating and recognizing quality rubrics. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Merrill Prentice Hall.
Gruenert, S., & Whitaker, T. (2015). School culture rewired: how to define, assess, and transform it.