Note: This post is an extended reflection from the EdTech Team’s Teacher Leader Certification Program. I am participating in the initial cohort.
The EdTech Team Honeycomb is an interesting synthesis of elements to use for prepping the idea of Future Ready. It certainly seems to cover most of the issues related to improving a school. I especially like that it is intended to be a holistic approach and think it could be a valuable lens. All that being said, I think that Student Agency has to be the most important focus, especially in my context.
There has been a rising tide of interest in sameness that has taken root statewide and in the school where I work, with common benchmarks, common summative and formative assessments, and state-mandated District Determined Measures, on top of required state standardized tests and the influence of Advanced Placement. There are a lot of efforts toward sameness for all kinds of reasons, most notably in an attempt to satisfy accountability requirements.
I work at a high-performing high school where the community places a lot of value on scoring well across all different kinds of metrics. Yet, the increase of prescribed, common experiences and assessments are, in many ways, antithetical to the idea of student agency. I would even submit the overreaching efforts to standardize and increase commonality are based on severely flawed premises, but that is another post altogether.
If every student is increasingly required to do the same things and assessed the same way, it leaves little time to deviate from the demarcated path. The student experience is less personal. On a side note, it also increases the potential for cheating and advancing the notion that school is little more than a hoop jumping exercise.
How can a student have a voice if they so rarely have a choice?
Fortunately, administrative leaders are beginning to recognize that the pendulum may have swung too far in one direction. So there the window of opportunity to foster a surge of student agency, as part of the effort to address this imbalance.
It is exciting to think that my school could make a concerted effort to empower student voice, choice, and all-around agency. That is something to celebrate.