Reflections on our Designs
The science is clear: secondary academic systems must be re-engineered in order to meet the needs of a rapidly changing world, of diverse learners, and of a dynamic teaching landscape. EduChange took a systems approach to this task, and after two decades of R&D, in-school implementation, and over 115 iterative design cycles informed by ongoing data collection, we’re ready to equip more schools and learning settings with a ‘system of systems’ that creates virtuous cycles. In this first blog post, President & Founder Catherine Saldutti reflects on her personal evolution with systems thinking, foreshadowing future posts about the principles and drivers of our work.
Society’s most pressing challenges are multi-faceted–they’re integrated. And a solid foundation in STEM will support young people as they negotiate these dynamic, complex challenges. We need to break down silos in upper secondary and early-university courses to better reflect the realities of 21st-century citizenship, professional STEM, and the human condition. And this hyper-connectivity is exactly what teen brains need to thrive.
Secondary schools have a unique relationship with content coverage, in part due to policies, standards, and exam requirements. Has it ever bothered you that not one cadre of standards writers ever determined whether all that content could reasonably fit into the regular school day and year? It bothered us. So we systematically figured out exactly how much content can be covered in the average Grades 8-12 classroom if desirable instructional practices (e.g. PBL, inquiry-based learning, etc.) were employed (all the way down to 20-minute increments, which is why we can customize pacing guides for every school schedule). Read on to gain our insights into content-per-unit-time as well as why we need to change our relationship with content altogether.
Why do high schools need to re-engineer assessment practices? For one, they are inherently inequitable. And then there’s this problem with contradicting the neuroscience of teen brains. Oh and they put teachers in a terrible position at a time when relationships with students need to be strengthened, not weakened. And for all you folks who keep chanting, “But the tests! The tests!” we have some news. Our current practices are not making students college & career ready, and we are not making achievement gains at the high school level. So sit back, take a deep breath, and let’s get to the bottom of this…
We’ll let you know when the next post is ready for you!
Books That Guide Our Thinking
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