Balanced Metrics

This page is devoted to discussing how we might incorporate a balanced approach to the results we'd like to see our kids obtain as learners at the Healey.

Short Video Overview

Perhaps the best way to see what this means is to look at a short video explanation




Definition:

A Balanced Metric Approach is one that utilizes learning-outcome measures that focus on the whole child---that intentionally balance academic metrics like those found on standardized tests with other important educational outcomes that are not so easily measured by standardized tests---but which are equally important (for example, metrics that measure outcomes such as creativity, critical thinking, meta-cognitive skills, perseverance, artistic expression, etc.). A Balanced Metric Approach is born of the belief that focusing only on the inputs to education---for example which learning methods we utilize---is a weak, half-approach. Only by focusing on BOTH inputs and outcome metrics, will we be able to align what we are doing with the goals we have for our learners (our children).



Benefits


Specifically, a balanced approach to learning outcomes may help us achieve the following:

  1. Avoiding a teaching-to-the-test mentality.
  2. Enabling us to focus on the whole child.
  3. Providing potent targets for our learning outcomes, thus enabling all of us (teachers, parents, students, administrators, community partners) to support our kids in achieving a clear set of potent learning and developmental outcomes.
  4. Helping us distinguish ourselves from other schools. Helping us burnish a clear reputation.
  5. Helping us meet our core values, balancing strong academics with love of learning, creativity, and respect/acceptance.


Difficulties


  1. People use standardized tests because they measure what is easy to measure. For us to be able to measure other "deeper" learning outcomes, we will be trying to measure what is more difficult to measure. Therefore, we will have difficulty.
  2. We will have to come together as a community in some agreement over what else is important to measure.
  3. While there is strong research on the benefits of goal-setting in general, there doesn't appear to be models from other elementary schools to draw from.



Overview Sheet





Other Points


  • Research on goal-setting shows significant benefits from having goals (http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~dabbish/locke.pdf).
  • We cannot escape standardized testing (even if we wanted to), so we ought to find a way to balance our focus to other critical competencies as well.
  • I have heard feedback about this idea from one well-respected "progressive" teacher at the Healey who told me he thinks this may be the most important thing we do during unification.