Tuesday, January 4, 2011

What is growth?

I had a conversation with Mr. Sparrgrove today about growth and metrics used to determine growth. But what happens when we narrow that focus too much? There is so much more to a child than a standardized test score. So then I ask, what do we use to measure this highly influential word of growth? I do not object to accountability for learning, but what else would we consider to measure growth throughout the school year. In Yardsticks, Chip Wood talks about Physical, Social Emotional, and Curriculum as it pertains to students. Maybe we should look her to begin a wider look at growth. As you know, my passion lies with understanding the ever evolving young adolescent. Perhaps their greatest growth could be social emotional. We have just 3 short years with our students in middle school; however, I believe these are some of the most powerful years of development. How can we as educators shape their growth to become thinkers, doers, and actors? Then of course the tough question, how do we measure that? To me, growth is a very person thing - one number or metric does not make growth. It is complicated and messy - but what isn't? I think as we progress in "growth models" we need to think about the whole child - this is who presents to us every day in the classroom. Adolescents are not defined by one moment in time, rather a successions of trials, learning opportunities, mistakes, and triumphs. So think about how you would measure growth!