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ERIC Number: EJ703950
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004-Jun-1
Pages: N/A
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 2
ISSN: ISSN-0031-7217
A Role for Technology in Professional Development? Lessons from IBM
Plitt, Bill
Phi Delta Kappan, v85 n10 p745 Jun 2004
Teachers face at least two dilemmas in our work to meet the academic needs of our students. The first dilemma is how to prepare our students to pass state-mandated tests without driving them away, given that many already see school as a place where they fail. The traditional "drill and practice" approach to remediation for low-performing students is boring and often ineffective, especially for students who lack motivation. Furthermore, such practices emphasize the recall of information and shortchange essential skills, such as analytical thinking or the "habits of the mind" that students need for success in college, in the workplace, and in their lives as responsible citizens. The second dilemma that teachers face is how to provide opportunities for "at-risk" students to practice critical thinking in our already tightly scheduled days while still adhering to the state-mandated curriculum. The public has a right to know whether students are learning, and teachers have an obligation to provide it with that information. Student achievement can be demonstrated through standardized test scores or through information gathered by teachers in their work with students in the classroom. We have neglected the value of the latter by relying almost solely on test scores. For example, the use of student portfolios allows teachers to evaluate progress in writing ability over the course of an entire year. Likewise, the multiple and alternative assessments we administer during various learning activities are critical sources of information. Yet teacher research on the implications of such data for improving instruction and student achievement is often missing from the assessment debate. One way we could help prepare our students for such tests would be to focus on the vocabulary of the standards. Research had found that students who were taught a system for learning new vocabulary did significantly better on standardized tests than those who had not received such instruction. We should regard standards as a vehicle for reaching a higher plane where more is expected intellectually of at-risk students on their journey to becoming engaged citizens.
Phi Delta Kappa International, Inc., 408 N. Union St., P.O. Box 789, Bloomington, IN 47402-0789. Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A