Education Corner 19 - BLOOM’S TAXONOMY

BLOOM’S TAXONOMY—Evidence is all about verbs
When this Kaselehlie Press edition becomes available I am sure all the readers will have attended graduations and more than one. Our small family has been to four as of this writing and has several to go. Like any family member I sit and ask if the many certificates received mean more than attendance. As parents, grandparents, and all caregivers want to know that the certificates represent evidence of learning. Remember the teacher must know what to teach; how to teach; how to create a positive learning environment; and how to know students have learned what has been taught in the classroom. These are measured by different kinds of tests-some are high-stakes which were discussed last issue. But measuring learning is far more that multiple choice tests, or essay tests. Measuring goes on daily, weekly, quarterly in formative ways and is a must responsibility of every teacher. Teachers can never assume a lesson or any part of it has been learned and teachers must have proof of this. Parents likewise have a right to ask— what did my child learn to earn the certificate.

Add a comment

Read more: Education Corner 19 - BLOOM’S TAXONOMY

Education Corner 18 - High Stakes Testing

High-stakes in poker or any other card game means the player is in the game and willing to bet a lot of money to win even bigger money. With a high stakes gambling game, a player can also lose a lot of money. Therefore, a high-stakes test is a test that means you can win big or lose big. High-stakes tests are not really set up for improvement. The EC has said in many columns that results from testing, assessing and evaluating should be used whenever possible for improvement. Readers are familiar with tests mentioned below and will recognize them as types of tests on which we all place such great emphasis. On many tests as these there is often no second chance.
Moreover, such tests are set up to screen or filter the test-takers. They are sometimes pass or fail and sometimes a score will rank the test-taker against the others taking the same test. For example, an employment test as for government jobs given to 100 applicants may only consider the top 10 in rank order of scores. Certainly, the National Standard Teacher Test (NSTT) is high-stakes as passing means an FSM teacher license or certification. A ‘no pass’ means no certification and therefore no teaching position. If our FSM teachers wish to teach in Guam or the U. S., they may run into teacher tests called the Praxis. The NSTT is similar in nature to the Praxis. The College of Micronesia Entrance Test (COMET) is high-stakes. Pass and you are in college. A ‘no pass’ means you will not be a college student until you can pass the COMET. Passing a General Equivalency Development Test (GED) means you are judged to be the same as a high school graduate and can enter COM-FSM (if you pass the COMET). Another high-stakes test for many Micronesians is the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB). To be accepted into the U. S. military requires the high school diploma or a GED and passing the ASVAB in order to enter the U. S. armed forces. And, to be sure, these high stakes tests are in the English language. So English proficiency is the real basis for success in these win-lose situations.

Add a comment

Read more: Education Corner 18 - High Stakes Testing

Education Corner 15

In the last KPress the EC promised to finish up this edition with how we might motivate our Pohnpei teachers and inspire them to improve. We explained that while teachers said they would be motivated if they were paid a higher salary—higher salaries are really not in the future. The readers must forgive EC—there will be no final answer this week as promised. But there are the beginnings. Last issue ended with:
“We can never improve student learning until we improve our teachers and motivate them to be better.
We will continue next EC and remember it’s a simple idea-motivation. It is just is getting someone to do something. People either do things because they want to do something or they have to do something. People are motivated by success and not motivated with failure. People are motivated to fulfill wants and needs. People have difficulty deciding what are wants and what needs are. There are always more wants than needs and usually more needs than resources. Exploring these ideas next issue will help us some (I think) unravel how to inspire and motivated our teachers. At least I hope so.”
Recall all of this began when we looked at the idea of On-going Teacher Training or the constant updating of knowledge and skills by our Pohnpeian Teachers. We mentioned this was what the Pohnpei Department of Education wanted to do-that is put together a program where all the teachers have the opportunity to always be improving. We have noted that this on-going education is a hallmark of every profession from medicine to law and from engineering to education. But how do we inspire or motivate the teachers when we are reminded of the EC reader who said “I have a friend who is a public school teacher and like many of her colleagues is suffering from depression as a result of a lack of inspiration and motivation; low/ poor pay and an insecure tenure with the new short term contracts now in place, being a major factor.”? Whatever we did we knew many teachers did feel this way and inspiring such teachers would not be easy.

Add a comment

Read more: Education Corner 15

Education Corner 17

05 MAY 2016 - In the last Education Corner I finished with a comment about Directors of Education; Health and Public Safety being political appointments and the position is “up in the air” each time there is a change in Governors. This is a very touchy question for professional educators-What role should elected officials have in the public education process? What do elected officials know about school accreditation? After all FSM Accreditation is about teacher certification; student learning outcomes; standards/benchmarks; school improvement plans, teacher contracts and the host of other topics we have looked at in the EC these past months Unfortunately for many elected officials who come from other employment backgrounds-not a great deal is known about such. But it is important that they learn quickly and they do. They must—it has to do with money available of education now and as we move to Compact termination in 2023. It has to do with watching the tax dollars and presently these are tax dollars of U S citizens. So for now our legislators watch U S taxpayer dollars as part of their jobs and try to assure they are spent wisely. In fact they know that if there is not improvement in these education areas there will be less money. Presently there are more areas in need of improvement than available resources so improving and not losing resources is the task at hand.

Add a comment

Read more: Education Corner 17

Education Corner 14 - Motivating Teachers

23 MAR 2016

In the last EC column we promised to continue with the question –how do we motivate teachers to do a good job? Please be prepared for several EC’s as the topic is so very important to improving our children’s education.
Last issue I responded briefly to the reader who wrote- “I have a friend who is a public school teacher and like many of her colleagues is suffering from depression as a result of a lack of inspiration and motivation; low/poor pay and an insecure tenure with the new short term contracts now in place, being a major factor.” She had asked how can we inspire and motivate our teachers. I tried to stall and wrote her I would ask some teachers and principals that very question. What would motivate you to do a better job?
Moreover in education we would consider a good teacher job is evidenced by students learning the school subjects well. Students should be learning to read, write and do math. But too they should be learning the sciences and the social studies. That’s a good job so how can teachers be motivated to want to do an even better job? How do we motivate teachers to embrace “being professional”? Professionals follow a path marked “Continuous Improvement” so just how do we get more teachers on this path?

Add a comment

Read more: Education Corner 14 - Motivating Teachers

Education Corner 16 - Training Awaits New Leadership

 APRIL 2016 - In the last EC we explained the Data for Decision Making project (DDP) where all the Pohnpei Elementary Teachers tested themselves in the five sciences and five social studies. These are to be taught every year and every grade. The teachers did this to find their weakest areas, openly admit to the weak subjects and ask their Principal for training for improvement. The DDP also surveyed the curriculum material available to students in the sciences and social studies. The DDP operated under the idea that improved teachers will improve students’ learning, Further when teachers have curriculum materials for students to practice reading, writing, listening and speaking skills in English, the all important ESL skills will be enhanced and Pohnpei student scores in reading comprehension will improve dramatically. Throughout the process have always believed that teachers requesting training was proof of motivation and part of the answer to the claim teachers are unmotivated.

Add a comment

Read more: Education Corner 16 - Training Awaits New Leadership

Education Corner 13 - FSM Technology Plan (2010)

FSM Technology Plan (2010) - MAR 2016

The matter of what to teach usually comes before aspiring teachers learn the how to teach. That is teachers learn most of their science and social studies standards content in before tackling the methods of teaching. The Data for Decision Making (DDP) project allows us to see where our teachers can benefit most from On Going Teacher Training in the content areas of science and social studies. When teachers are hired they are expected to teach five different sciences each year in our elementary schools. We know that some teachers have taken coursework in some of these sciences and not others. But recall that PDOE follows the FSM Science Standards which require each teacher to teach; Science as Inquiry; Earth AND Space Science; Life AND Environmental Science; Physical Science AND Technology; and Marine Science. The DDP asks teachers to self-identify their weak areas in the sciences (and social studies) and ask for On Going Teacher Training for improvement. We all see that only by improving teachers so we can we improve the students’ learning.

Add a comment

Read more: Education Corner 13 - FSM Technology Plan (2010)