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A Measure of Learning

Dave Shearon, another new-to-me education blogger and former school board member, is proposing a new way to judge whether classroom work is of high quality: return on student time (ROST). To rank high on this scale, assignments should result in the greatest quality of learning for the quantity of time invested. But, he notes, that ROST must be considered in conjunction with TTR – teacher time required.

Dave doesn’t give any details on how such an assessment might be implemented but it’s an interesting concept. I’m unsure where to begin the process, but he’s certainly on target when he says that we need better ways to discuss quality in the classroom than arguing over labels like "constructivist" or "progressive". In the end, however, many experienced teachers probably already have ROST figured out, even if they don’t use numerical values. Good teachers understand their subjects and their students and design lessons that make the best use of everyone’s time. Poor teachers just follow the script.

1 Comment

  1. Dave Shearon

    You’re exactly right; I don’t give many details, mostly because I don’t have them. That concept just sort of came to me as a result of the thinking I’ve done on quality work, teacher effort, etc. I do think the details need to be worked out. The lack of well-thought-out, tested,and generally understood metrics seems to be an area where education could really stand to improve. Business has such metrics for hard-to-quantify concepts, as does the military. Educators can develop them also. And, I’d much rather see a school or system working on them than see whatever the next great idea is that is going to come out of some legislative body!

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