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The Right to Be Literate

Categories: 21st Century Skills, Assessment

21st Century Literacy

If literacy consists of processing codified text as a way to communicate via reading, writing, listening, speaking, and viewing and representing, then 21st century literacy is literacy on steroids. In a world where the sheer volume of text is overwhelming and the speed of communications and digital interactions is blinding, 21st century literacy is about how students learn to process this avalanche of information, not just for edutainment but also for honing their academic literacy skills in all content areas. They must learn to think, question the author, wonder about a confusing statement, hypothesize why the author has taken a specific stance, draw inferences about tonality and mood, and appreciate good literature in all its forms. Twenty-first century literacy is the expansive scope that takes a close look at the roles language and literacy play in our world. And the “right to be literate” implies that students will be able to participate fully in these endeavors as contributing members of an educated and literate society.

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Assessing Your Assessments

Categories: Assessment, Mathematics

Every year, teachers use dozens of formal unit assessments with their students to answer the second critical question of a Professional Learning Community, “How will we know when each student has learned it?” (Dufour, Dufour & Eaker, 2008) With new mathematics standards and the focus on teaching the content via the mathematical practices, how do we assess the assessments that gauge student learning? The biggest question from collaborative teams when planning their common formative assessment around the essential learning standards is, “How do we know if the assessments we are using to gauge student understanding are good? Or even great?”

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More Summer Than Break

Categories: Assessment

As I write this I’m aboard a plane heading to a conference where I’ll be both a presenter and an attendee. Yes, it is July, that time of the year where many folks think educators are in the midst of their glorious summer break. I think it’s time to dispel the myth of the “ten-week break” and have the new narrative reflect the reality for most educators – it’s more summer than break.

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