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View Diary: A Saturday reflection as the school year heads to its conclusion (17 comments)

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  •  Standards have been used in Pony Club for (1+ / 0-)
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    boji

    many years. US Pony Club was modeled on a program in England.  

    The Standards of Proficiency are a sequential curriculum of both book/practical knowledge, and actual skills riding a horse.  There are 3 beginner levels 3 intermediate levels and 2 advanced levels, and now the addition of some specialty standards for specific disciplines eg. dressage, jumping.  

    Pony Club is designed to be an educational organization and meetings are to have an educational focus.  The instructors are told to "teach to the Standard."  Children move through the standards at their own pace, regardless of age.  They also volunteer for when they think they are ready for the standards assessment, although the instructors help guide them with feedback so they know if they are ready.  

    The actual assessments require 100% pass for every area on the exam, with a rating of Meets or Exceeds the Standard.  They can re-test within 2 weeks if they fail is specified number of sections or less.  Otherwise they have to wait at least a couple of months and get the recommendation of their instructors that they are ready.  The assessments are conducted by an instructor who has not been the one teaching the children, to help make the evaluation more objective.  

    There is a lot in this system that could be used in schools.  I like the notion of badges as used in Scouting too, and Pony Club recently added badges so kids could earn something when they were between levels on the Standards.

    I also see as a speech-language pathologist that I teach children all the time using authentic assessment, no grades, no restrictions on whether I could do something along the lines of the author's use of "old tests" to get baselines etc.  In fact, getting a baseline is pretty much required/standard procedure in therapy.  You baseline where the client is now, without cueing, or even baseline what they can do with different degrees of cueing.  Say they only need min cues for one thing but max cues for another.  On the latter, if they progress to min cues, that's progress.  The emphasis is on learning and facilitating progress, not grades or scores on tests.  Personally I think grades should be eliminated at least until high school.  And there is such misuse--I've seen situations where teaching is basically done by worksheet in the lower grades and every worksheet is graded.  So teaching comes to be basically testing the child all day with a few moments of explanation or some projects thrown in every now and then.  It makes no sense to me to grade every single effort of a 6 year old on reading and writing or math.  Feedback, yes.  Grades, no.  

    Which gets to one of the fundamental problems with typical schooling, which is use of grades instead of measures of progress towards something like Standards.  

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