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EssayTagger is a web-based tool to help teachers grade essays faster.
But it is not an auto-grader.

This blog will cover EssayTagger's latest feature updates as well as musings on
education, policy, innovation, and preserving teachers' sanity.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Making Common Core work, pt2: The big picture

Teachers and administrators need to understand the big picture of where Common Core is headed. Here's your quick preview.

The long view
At a surface level the Common Core standards specify what students should know or be able to do. We're focused on how to integrate that into our classrooms. That part is straightforward and obvious.

But the big picture is much bigger than this. 

Establishing a common set of target skills is just step one. The Common Core standards are not a goal unto themselves but merely a means to an end. The real goals lay beyond. One of the major ones, not surprisingly, is all about data.

Knowing a student's GPA doesn't convey enough information. Knowing that she got a B- in Sophomore English isn't enough. But knowing that she's struggling with W.9-10.1d is useful.

The standards create a common reference point for learning targets that are otherwise ad hoc, disorganized, or nonexistent. Forget leaving notes to next year's teachers that "Johnny is weak on fractions" or that "Sarah struggles with citations." That world is coming to an end. Too much information is lost that way, too much time is wasted on reassessing students' abilities at the beginning of each year.

Instead teachers will have standardized reporting tools that use the Common Core framework to track a student's entire educational record on a skill-by-skill progression level. 

Common Core isn't just about what to teach, it's about tracking what has been learned.