The MyGrade Effective Teacher GPA Exercise began May 14 and ran each Monday in May, June, and July. The Exercise encourages teachers to take a moment and reflect on their classroom practices by reviewing a statement and assigning an A to F grade to rate their performance. Each statement which describes a teacher practice is grounded in research. For example, “I create opportunities where my students receive continuous and specific feedback that helps them improve” (Week 11 Exercise) is grounded in the work of Black and Wiliam (1998) among others.
At the beginning of professional development sessions or a class we ask teachers to take the Effective Teacher GPA self-assessment to help us set the stage for learning together. In our experience, teachers tend to assign themselves and other teachers grades that produce a “C” average. Ironically, research over the years tells us that when teachers apply these actions in their classrooms, students achieve higher scores on standardized tests.
At the beginning of the summer we encouraged teachers to participate in the weekly Exercise and at the end of the summer to calculate their overall GPA; we would do the same using aggregate poll responses of all participants. These are the results (N < 100):
As teachers we are not altogether responsible for failing to score an “A” on the self-assessment. However, by taking the Effective Teacher GPA we are able to think reflectively about how we need to modify our practices to focus more on what students learn rather than on the content we teach and the activities we do with students in class. The good news is that when teachers commit to applying the actions from the MyGrade GPA Exercise in their classrooms, teachers place students in winning situations where they are eager to learn, take on challenges, and own their learning.
As teachers we must enter our classrooms each day with the purpose in mind that comes from Coach John Wooden, one of the best basketball coaches and teachers of all time. To be effective teachers he tells us “we have not taught students, until they have learned” (Nater and Gallimore, 2006). Thus, we should not judge our effectiveness by how much we teach, what we teach, and how we teach. Rather, we must judge our work as teachers by viewing how well students learned, especially students who struggle the most.
Visit http://studereducation.com/effectiveteachergpa to complete the Effective Teacher GPA and have your GPA results sent to you.
Black, P., and Wiliam, D. 1998. Inside the black box: raising standards through classroom assessment, Phi Delta Kappa, 80(2), pp. 139 – 144.
Nater, S., and Gallimore, R. 2006. You Haven’t Taught Until Students Have Learned: John Wooden’s Teaching Principles and Practices. Morgantown, WV: Fitness Information Technology.
Pilcher, J. K. 2010. Who’s Engaged? Climb the Learning Ladder to See.
Our mission at Studer Education is to provide students with a great place to learn, teachers with a great place to teach, and parents with confidence that their children are getting a great education. To do this we teach teachers and leaders how to get the best student learning results and create results-oriented school cultures. Visit us online at http://studereducation.com to learn more about Studer Education Teacher Development Institutes (TDIs), Leader Development Institutes (LDIs), and Evidence-Based Leadership. Studer Education is a division of Studer Group, the recipient of a 2010 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.