The Principal's Principles

A Middle School Principal, striving to make the world a better place, one day at a time.

Begin with the end in mind

After spending a day learning about and planning for the implementation of the Common Core standards, I walked away with Stephen Covey’s famous habit in mind. Successful implementation, in my view, will call on us to take a critical look at assessment. By beginning with the output of what we want students to achieve in mind, we can focus on the instruction that will lead to mastering the new standards. In looking at sample items from the Smarter Balanced assessments, several key things jumped out to me.

To be successful:

Students will need to think about a process to think about the question
Students will need to think through the questions, do some analysis, and answer.
Students will need to take more time for each question. Time on task has to increase.
Students will need to to know the basic facts, assessments go way beyond knowing multiplication facts.
Students will need to the ability to read complex text.
Students will need the skills to flip back, look again at text, examples, etc.
Students will need to be able to seamlessly use technology.
Students will need to be able to spend considerable time on task.

Planning to “get there” hinges on strong classroom, formative assessments that hinge on evidenced based, reflective practices that answer the question “What does the learner need to know and do in order to be successful on this task?”

As a school administrator, student achievement for the children who attend our school is one of my top two priorities (safety being the other). As I plan my goals as a second year principal, this focus on assessment will be vital.

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2 thoughts on “Begin with the end in mind

  1. Hello again Mr. Bernia,
    Once again, I really enjoyed your post. The students at your school are lucky to have you. I love the title of your post, begin with the end in mind. I think that entering into any situation with that mindset will keep a person focused. As we progress forward, we need to keep our eye on the prize and we need to take the proper steps to get to that prize. Of the items you listed for focusing on assessment, the one that jumped out the most to me were the two that emphasized spending more time on task. I believe if we allowed children more time to focus and understand we would have a better educational result. I look forward to reading more from you.

  2. Hi Mr. Bernia! Once again, I really enjoyed reading your blog post. The title of your post immediately captured my attention, and I love how you tied together starting the school year off with the end in mind. The tips you mentioned for a successful student were very relevant to schools, and I believe we, as educators, should do everything we can to help each student accomplish each item on this list.

    I especially liked the focus on time management because as a college student, I know now more than ever how important it is to take your time on assessments and do the very best you can. I think it is great that the main focus for your school is strong student achievement, and with a focus on the tips you mentioned from the Smarter Balanced assessments, your students will most certainly be successful. I look forward to reading more from you in the future!

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