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I met with a Pensacola, Florida, resident today who has been part of the community for the last 40 years. He mentioned how two individuals I am connected with – one whom I have never met – are the two individuals he thinks of when he thinks about who has contributed “the most” to the Pensacola community. When I returned to the office I mentioned this to my colleagues; they echoed his sentiments knowing both individuals.

In his comprehensive research study, Hattie found the number one variable that affects student achievement is what he calls self-reported grades or what he now labels student expectations. In a video, Hattie describes what is meant by self-reported grades. Self-reported grades directly relate to how well students create and own challenging expectations. As teachers we focus on the word “challenging.” Some students with greater confidence tend to set high expectations yet not high enough. Students with low confidence tend to set lower expectations. Here’s what Hattie says. In general students set safe targets that require less work. In her new book Who’s Engaged, this is Pilcher’s interpretation:

The primary goal for a teacher is to help students exceed rather than reach their self-defined potential. As teachers we must push the envelope with students… [That is, as teachers we must] expect students to own their learning by pushing and supporting them to do so.

In our work we talk a lot about “owners” and “renters.” Pilcher’s interpretation of Hattie’s research focuses on teachers “owning” their contribution to students’ learning. My meeting today provided an opportunity to transfer this focus of “owners” v. “renters” to investing in one’s community – a challenge for all of us. We’re nearing the end of 2012 and one-half of the way through the 2012-2013 school-year; this is a great time to ask the question, “How have I contributed to education in my community?”

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Hattie, J. Self Reported Grades with John Hattie. Available at http://vimeo.com/41465488.

Pilcher, J. (2012). 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 work with school boards, leaders, and teachers to apply Evidence-Based continuous improvement processes and the principles from How to Lead Teachers to Become Great in their districts to get the best student learning results and create results-oriented school cultures. Visit us online at http://studereducation.com. Studer Education is a division of Studer Group, a recipient of the 2010 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.