One of the recurring themes in this book is that communication needs to be straightforward and concise. Previously, the author described the tactic of communicating in very simple terms so that the message could be easily understood and, when passed along, its intent remained consistent. This is especially significant in the military during wartime when lives are at stake. In addition to communications being simple, the author speaks of keeping maneuvers as simple as possible. In his example, a new lieutenant had shared his plans that his team was to take outside of the protected compound. The author, from his past experiences, immediately knew the plans were too complicated. The plans called for the lieutenant's team to travel to far away and through too many dangerous neighborhoods. If they were engaged by the enemy at those far distances, help would be too far away. The author had the lieutenant change the plans so that they were much more simple and stayed closer to the compound. Twelve minutes into the mission, the lieutenant's team came under fire from the enemy. Because the team was close to the compound, reinforcements were readily available and the wounded were extracted successfully.
Common standards-based assessments are a core belief of mine for many reasons. They provide valuable data to answer the following questions:
Has the student learned the standard?
Did the teacher successfully teach the standard?
Are the other grade levels/same subject areas at the roughly same place in the curriculum (sequence)?
If there are different buildings are they also at the roughly same place in the curriculum?
I have implemented common standards-based assessments in the last two school districts where I have worked. However, looking back at their implementation, I could have done a much better job. In my zeal to do good by the student, the implementation was too complex. That is, it included grades 2 - 12 in most subject areas and there was to be 1 developed/given per month for each grade/subject. It was too much too soon. In addition, I did not do a good enough job with explaining why they were necessary. At times, I think others feel the way I do, so I figure why go into details if it just makes sense? The problem is that it typically only makes total sense to me. Moving forward, I need to change those two missteps. What I need to do is to make sure everyone understands the why so I create belief (see my blog about Chapter 3, Believe). Additionally, I need to simplify the implementation in order to eliminate confusion. Because as we know, confusion is always the fault of the leader.
I'd love to hear your thoughts.
Thanks for reading!