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98. PRACTICE: An Assessment Tool to Measure Curriculum Implementation Success via Student Voice

by Lindsay Lyons
January 17th 2023
Welcome back to the Time For Teachership Podcast! Today we have a solo episode with Lindsay sharing a practice activit... More
educational justice coach, lindsey Lyons and here on the time for teacher ship podcast, we learn how to inspire educational innovation for racial and gender justice design curricula grounded in student voice and build capacity for shared leadership. I'm a former teacher leader turned instructional coach. I'm striving to live a life full of learning, running, baking, traveling and parenting because we can be rockstar educators and be full human beings. If you're a principal Assistant superintendent, curriculum director instructional coach or teacher who enjoys nursing out about co creating curriculum students, I made this show for you. Here we go. If you are looking for an assessment practice to assess curricular implementation for your teachers, how are they doing to what degree with their implementation of a new unit successful. This is the episode for you. I can't wait to dive in. Let's get right to it. Okay, so you're here because you want an assessment practice that helps you assess and collect evidence or data around?

Was this implementation of this new unit actually successful? How did students receive it? What is kind of the student voice that is often missing from assessing teacher implementation or teachers skill? How do we weave that in? How do we really center the student experience in this? So we're going to talk through a strategy as always going to give you a free resource that's going to save you time to just grab at it and go, let's get right to it. So first why would we want to do this. So we need to know if a new unit is successful or not and likely we're going to see that it lands with some students, it's engaging to some students. It's not engaging to other students and we're going to need to coach teachers to make some changes to optimize that the next time they teach it, if they do teach it again, even if they're not planning to teach it again, maybe it was hyper focused on this group of students because they're really interested in this topic or a current event is happening now won't be as relevant next year.

The bones of the protocols or even the process with which they went about creating it and co creating hopefully with students to some degree can be reflected on. And so it's still really critically important that we know wasn't successful. What was the student experience of the way that it was implemented? Design and implemented and then how would we change and adapt in the future because we always want to be taking forward action and growing our practice. The other piece that I alluded to is student voice is often absent from the assessment of teachers and I think personally my best feedback was often from students, right, they would tell me this was not engaging this was engaging, here's what we could do next. This would be really exciting to work on a project on this topic. I'm curious about this, that is really, really important data that would coach me to be better in my unit design, my unit implementation and it facilitated a co creation process with students over time. So this data, the student voice data.

This experiential perception data is critically important and this practice today or this tool that I'm offering is super helpful to be able to invent this. Also the tool that I'm sharing is actually a kind of pre then post approach in the first kind of pages of of the survey that I'm sharing with you. And so this approach is actually research has found more accurate because the thing is we don't know what we don't know before we start learning about a topic or learning and experiencing learning in a new way and I think the experience or anecdote that kind of drives this home the most for me is when I would ask my high school students how they wanted to learn what they wanted to learn about the topic. How did they want to engage in this research, you know, what protocol do they want to engage with? Often they would just be like, Miss You tell me the information and then you test me on it. That is how education works. That's how I've always experienced education. I don't know what you want from me, right?

Like we've always done things this way and we kind of drive out the creativity from students by the time they reach high school and likely even sooner my experience has just been in high school students. It has been so long since they've been able to follow their creativity or suggest ideas about how classes done that they it doesn't even come to the front of the mind, right? They really need some coaching around, like what is it that you actually want here? The expansive opportunities we can provide here are other examples of how we might do this and it takes a little bit more work and time might be easier for younger students might not. But I think it's it's important to note that kind of experience that I've had in that way. Because if you don't know what else is possible, if you haven't experienced schooling in any other way, then you're probably just going to say, yeah, it was fine. It was school, right. If you experience it in this new way, then you can look back and say, oh, well up until this unit actually, school was not super engaging or maybe, you know, it was engaging.

But I never realized we could do it in this way and this was better. Or actually like the other way that we used to do units in this kind of experimental unit did not work for me. I'm gonna tell you about that. So, we don't really know what we don't know before we experience the new thing or start learning the new topic. Pre then post asked us to reflectively think back before we started this unit, what was your experience now? After what was your experience of the same construct? Right? So that pre then post acting at the same time point afterwards. And asking reflectively is going to give us more accurate information then if we asked at the very beginning and then again at the end because we don't know what we don't know. So how do we do this thing? How do we assess unit implementation and design center, student voice and leverage a pre then post approach to our survey. So first I think baseline, even like step zero is to facilitate a youth adult partnership mentality among staff. Michael Fielding in the student voice literature calls this radical collegiality.

I've talked about this before, but basically seeing students as partners and the learning process in the development and implementation of learning in a school community and seeing each other as having the this shared responsibility for student success. If that's not present, it's going to be really difficult to design and implement in a student centered way to have that unit that you're designing and implementing, be engaging to all students and inspiring and affirming and asking students to take part in any form, even if it's super low stakes, it's not actually tied to any sort of outcomes or, you know, going on your permanent record asking students to participate in any sort of assessment of teacher practices without the teacher having this youth adult partnership mentality or having that be part of the culture of the school or district, it's just not going to fly right, like there's not going to be a desire to learn from students in this way in this particular practice, if that inherent desire and that seeing students ideas as valuable and seeing students as partners in the learning process is already present.

So I talked a lot about this before you can listen to past episodes, you can take a moment to kind of think about what that means for you and kind of take stock of your current culture around youth adult partnerships. You can reach out to me. I think this is a critical kind of baseline, foundational piece. Once this is in place, let's go to step one. So what you want to do is you want to coach teachers or you know, make sure they have a coach or a support system or course or something where you're coaching teachers to help them develop a unit that is focused on appropriately challenging students, affirming students multiple identities and inspiring them to create something new. So, these are the big hallmarks, I think of a fantastic curricula. Again, that's appropriately challenging students, affirming students multiple identities and inspiring them to create something new. That would be a fantastic unit. That does all those things. Right. And that's what we're measuring in the survey tool that I'm going to give you as a free resource for this episode. So that's our goal, create with those things in mind, Once that is created, the teacher will implement and then on the last day of unit the unit and I think this is important from a leader perspective, you want to make it routine in this particular teacher if you're working one on one or as a school and district level practice I think is even better to make it routine to invite students reflections as part of.

Well, the last day of every unit is just inviting student reflections, right? We're having reflective day, that's how we end all of our units. We value student voice, we make space for this, that's an expectation. Could look different, could be really flexible, could just be a survey, could be a whole class discussion, but there is this reflective piece that centers student voices and the perception of student experiences is highly valued. Could even include families. Right inviting families to share. How did your student experience this? What were your conversations at home? Like did you have any conversations about this unit at home so much data that can be so valuable and inform our next steps of how we either adapt that unit we just implemented or how we would coach a teacher to create something new in the future with these pieces in mind either for the same students if it's the next unit in the school year or a unit for next school year with different students perhaps. So create that culture of, we invite student reflections at the end of each class period or sorry, unit period and It's okay if it takes an entire class period.

My mind was going too fast. That's what I want to say. It's okay if it takes an entire class period to do this an entire, 30, 45 60 minutes because we're saying we value this and hopefully this will also take the pressure off teachers to feel like they have to race and cover things and they don't have time to illicit student responses and to give space for student ideas and reflections. So as a leader, thinking about that normalization of that in the culture. So coach teachers to create, you can have them adapt this free survey that I'm going to share with you today, but give students some sort of opportunity either in survey form in posing questions and having them answer in a class discussion or answer in a written journal prompt. Um ask them some questions. Right coach of the teachers to ask students really powerful questions that measure what you want to measure, to really get out the student experience. Again, keeping in mind we want to make sure that the curriculum in the unit was appropriately challenging.

Affirming of students multiple identities and inspiring them to create something new of course, if there's other things you want to measure as well, definitely include those in the questions that you ask. I also think it's a really good idea to incentivize this by asking for this data as part of either a coaching cycle. If you're coaching this teacher one on one or they have a coach who is working with them one on one in a coaching cycle or as part of a portfolio piece that either if you want it to be kind of part of their permanent record or something in a portfolio piece in that sense. Sure. But I also think just normalizing and making routine success shares, which I've talked about previously on the podcast, some sort of portfolio piece where they are sharing out like this is part of my learning journey I'm sharing so that I can tell other staff and perhaps admin and even other staff from other schools who might be visiting our school. This has been what worked here is evidence of this. I think everyone is curious about student voice and student experience.

This is a wonderful way to collect that data. So I'm going to walk through a couple of questions for you if you're thinking, alright, I'm with you on the, you know, youth adult partnership mentality as kind of foundational coach teachers to develop the unit, yep, that's a big ask, but let's say we did it. And then all right now we invite student reflection to normalize the cultural reflection on the last day of the unit and now teachers ask the questions why, what questions should they be asking, how should I coach them to do this. Again, I'm sharing the template with you and that's going to be located at lindsey Beth Lyons dot com slash blog slash 98. So that's where you're gonna be able to get this post student survey for students, you can make a copy of it, you can edit it, it's gonna be in google form format so it'll be easier for you to do, it'll save you some time. But here are some of the questions that are in that survey and it's broken down that you actually first back up and tell you the categories of kind of the pages of the survey. So first section of the survey is going to ask students to think about their experience with lessons before and then after with regard to different constructs and a lot of these concepts.

A lot of these questions have been pulled from Panorama student survey which I highly recommend checking out. They share all of their students surveyed questions for free on their website. I've mentioned them before. They are awesome. I work with them actually as a contractor, They are phenomenal. So how was your experience with lessons or units before this unit and then how was it in this past unit? So again that pre then post and then the very last page students are asked qualitative questions that enable them to share other thoughts about their experience with, how they learn in class, what they learned in class, what they suggest for change or future unit ideas. So here we go. First section we are doing the pre then post. So first question is how often did your teacher take time to make sure you understood the material before this unit? There's a question and then there's a scale. What about during this past unit? Same scale. Same question. How high are teachers expectations of you?

What about before this unit? During the past unit? How often are you asked to challenge usual ways of thinking or explore how underrepresented people experience a situation again before this unit during this past unit? How much do you feel like you belong in this class community? Same sub questions. How much do you feel like all your identities are affirmed in the curriculum? You might want to give some examples of identities here define firm. So I define affirmed as when people are supported to feel happy, healthy and safe and who they are again you have the before and during this past unit. I also I like asking a sub question here if you answered anything other than extremely affirmed in the question like what, which identity or identities specifically were not fully affirmed before the unit And in this case um I would make it a check box so they can check more than one. And so the next question as we kind of continue on this list. How excited were you going to go to class and before this unit, during this past unit, how eager were you to participate in class. How often did your class assignments aspire you to create something?

Original. How much did the work you completed for class make a difference in your community and that's the end of that. Pre then post section. So again, those are really focused on getting at the constructs of appropriate degree of challenge. Affirming multiple identities and inspiring original creation. The last section is for deeper reflection and feedback. First there is a quantitative scale. How much did you enjoy this unit? Scale of 1 to 10? Right. And then they're all qualitative. So what was helpful about this unit? What was the most important thing you learned or took away? What changes would you make? How can you make sure how can your teacher make sure the curriculum is challenging? Affirming and inspiring for you in the future. So just naming that goal for them and asking, how do we do that? Take a moment to think about these questions that may be really stood out to you. Do you want to take all of these, you want to add to them? Do you want to adjust them? You want to take them out what might be a focus area for you as you're thinking about coaching teachers around some of these objectives and some of these questions using them really as compelling data points for unit?

Not only implementation but you don't design right at that step of the process as well. And then going back to kind of this overview right of we got the youth adult mentality as kind of step zero step one coach, the teachers to make that unit step to normalize and encourage student reflections as part of the end of the unit and have the teachers go ahead and ask those questions. Right? Give that survey the last step. Step three is that we want to have the teachers synthesize and share class themes, right? If it's not already open class discussion that way, I mean, we could probably synthesize with some chart paper, right? And just kind of highlight takeaways at the very end. But if it is kind of submitted anonymously via survey, for example, Synthesize share out the class names. We don't have to identify students that said particular things. Have the teachers ask for clarity. Again, seeing students as partners, ask for clarity, be in that space of of learning that orientation. To be curious what you know, folks said this student said this, I'm wondering a little bit about that.

Can someone tell me more? Can someone teach me a little bit about what you what you experience and what I should do next. What are some suggestions for the next unit? Right, I can go ahead and adapt that. Here's my plan right now, but what pieces could change what, you know, what specific topics or specific activities do you want to do again? Right, start that co creation conversation even invite students to select, you know what you want to be responsible for pulling in a current event. Okay, I'm gonna I'm gonna invite you to, you know, pick two and and bring them to me and we'll choose the one. That might be the best bet. Oh, you want to kind of help facilitate the circle on this topic. Great. So we can, you know, meet me after school or we'll save 10 minutes of class time, you know, on Friday and will kind of connect and see how you can prepare for that. Great. So that co creation, co design, co implementation, huge piece of student learning and student leadership and amplifying voice. So that's the last piece, right, Synthesize and share class themes and also make sure you take action on the action steps suggested by students wherever possible.

And if you can't as always, anytime you invite student voice and you can't take action as suggested name that I heard the suggestion I want to name that I heard it, here's why I don't see a password implementation right now, if you see something different, let me know, but like here's why it might not be possible at the moment. Happy to work through alternatives and we can maybe co create something together, but I just naming that, I heard you and here's why it won't work. That goes a long way, right? That goes a long way to say, I heard you and I thought I racked my brain for how we might do this. It just can't happen right now or in that exact way. But I am so happy to collaborate with you and figure out a plan moving forward that honors the intention of that suggestion. All this stuff is possible. All of this stuff is going to amplify voice and I think you can start with a small pilot start with one or two teachers, start with the department. But I think this is a powerful process to expand school wide district wide and make it part of just a learning orientation, a spirit of curiosity, a spirit of youth adult partnership in your curriculum design, implementation and reflection process.

So with that I'm encouraging you to go grab that free resource. The post unit student perception survey is google form format. Again, that's lindsey Beth Lyons dot com slash blog slash 98. I cannot believe it is episode 98 already. While we are two episodes away from 100 let me know how you're using it asked me if you have questions, get excited about what this will do to increase student engagement and student academic success. I cannot wait to hear from you if you're leaving this episode wanting more. You're going to love my live coaching intensive curriculum bootcamp. I help one department or grade team create feminist anti racist curricula that challenges affirms and inspires all students. We leave current events into course content and amplify student voices, which skyrockets engagement and academic achievement. It energizes educators feeling burns out and it's just two days plus you can reuse the same process any time you create a new unit, which saves time and money.

If you can't wait to bring this to your staff, I'm inviting you to sign up for a 20 minute call with me, grab a spot on my calendar at www dot lindsey beth Lyons dot com slash contact Until next time leaders continue to think Big act brave and be your best self. This podcast is a proud member of the teach Better podcast network, better today, better tomorrow and the podcast. To get you there, explore more podcasts at teach better dot com slash podcasts and we'll see you at the next episode.

98. PRACTICE: An Assessment Tool to Measure Curriculum Implementation Success via Student Voice
98. PRACTICE: An Assessment Tool to Measure Curriculum Implementation Success via Student Voice
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