Posts by: Chris Sturgis

Quality Design Principle #10: Seek Intentionality and Alignment

“One of the biggest benefits of mastery-based learning is the clarity for teachers. We have had so many good conversations with teachers about what they are teaching, what they want students to be able to know and be able to do, and why they are teaching it…… Read More

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Quality Design Principle #11: Establish Mechanisms to Ensure Consistency and Reliability

“In the traditional system, it can mistakenly feel more precise because we use mathematics to determine the grade. In the mastery-based system, we have to make sure we are as objective as possible – we have to be subjectively objective. We used to have teachers say that they wanted to give students who had worked hard the benefit of the doubt…… Read More

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Quality Design Principle #12: Maximize Transparency

“We started along the path toward mastery-based learning when we began to ask ourselves: Why do we assess? Why do we grade? We realized that every teacher did it differently. The transparency and intentionality of mastery-based learning makes a huge difference for our teachers and our students. Our teachers are much more intentional about what they want to achieve in their classrooms…… Read More

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Quality Design Principle #13: Invest in Educators as Learners

“Sure, we could make it easier for teachers, but then our students don’t succeed. The other option is to admit that teaching is a complex system, invest in the systems, nurture the culture to support professional teachers…and have the kids actually learn. It’s obvious which one is the better choice.”

–….. Read More

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Quality Design Principle #15: Develop Processes for Ongoing Continuous Improvement and Organizational Learning

“We aren’t done innovating until 100 percent of our students are graduating.”

– Ty Cesene, Principal, Bronx Arena, New York City Department of Education, NY, 2014

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Quality systems model the same learning orientation and growth mindset that they seek to foster in students…… Read More

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Quality Design Principle #16: Advance Upon Demonstrated Mastery

“Mastery is about knowing something like the back of your hand. You can use it again and again.”

– Student, Cleveland School District

Description

When students advance upon demonstrated mastery instead of seat time, educators direct their efforts to where students require the most help and make sure they learn the skills needed for more advanced studies…… Read More

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Classroom Assessment is About Closing Gaps

by Chris Sturgis

I have never been a teacher. Thus, I don’t write very much about instruction and assessment as my knowledge base is about the size of a raindrop compared to the sea of knowledge that teachers tap into every day. I simply don’t have enough knowledge to know where to focus or the types of questions to ask…… Read More

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Creating a Learner-Driven System in Waukesha (Part 1)

This article, originally posted at CompetencyWorks is based on site visits in 2017 on personalized, proficiency-based education in Wisconsin.

I arrived early at Waukesha’s STEM Academy – Saratoga Campus (WSA). Entering the front door, one immediately steps into a relatively open space carved into smaller areas by bookshelves,….. Read More

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Locations: Wisconsin

Waukesha STEM Academy: Personalizing Instruction and Learning Experiences (Part 2)

This article, originally posted at CompetencyWorks is based on site visits in 2017 on personalized, proficiency-based education in Wisconsin.

Many people describe WSA as a STEM school or as a project-based learning school. Murray quickly pointed out, “I couldn’t really make a blanket statement that we are a project-based school or not…… Read More

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Locations: Wisconsin