ALBUQUERUQUE, New Mexico – Can a standardized test summarize a student’s preparedness for life after school? The response is often a resounding “No.” A collaborative, two-year effort is underway in Albuquerque, NM to develop new methods of evaluation that lay the groundwork for innovation and improvement in our education system.
On July 29, the New Metrics Initiative, led by the New Mexico Center for School Leadership, the Eagle Rock Professional Development Center and the McCune Charitable Foundation, will use a draft of a tool to assess quality exhibitions at Amy Biehl High School in an effort to provide a credible set of tasks and assessment tools that demonstrate valid student outcomes beyond what is captured in standardized tests.
The New Metrics Initiative emerged from a challenge faced by many schools working in troubled districts: funding. While funders might readily recognize schools that inspire dramatic transformations in districts that struggle with high attrition rates, low test scores and other challenges, that progress is often not captured by standardized tests.
“A simple analysis of the number of students who are ‘competent’ at Math or Reading does not tell the story of a school.” Says Tony Monfiletto, Director of the Center for School Leadership, “The ability to solve problems, work on a team, and communicate ideas are fundamental to a young person’s future, but those can’t be measured within our current evaluation system. The New Metrics Initiative seeks to identify metrics that reflect and incentivize the development of these real-world skills.”
The Eagle Rock Professional Development Center is helping the school leaders to “raise their gaze and look at the contours and landscape of the innovative work they are doing” says Michael Soguero, Director of Professional Development at Eagle Rock, a non-profit that works with educators from around the country. Over a series of strategy sessions led by Eagle Rock Professional Development Center that began in February, 2014, school leaders have shaped their vision for an “Educational Sweet Spot,” a place where students successfully deploy what they have learned through real life projects that engage both inter-personal and academic skill sets to creatively solve real-world problems. “Eagle Rock is especially skilled at facilitating this kind of work,” comments Soguero, “we work with innovative schools and educators around the country so their day-to-day work can inform and benefit more schools locally and nationally.”
Henry Rael of the McCune Charitable Foundation comments, “Our goal with this Initiative is to support the development of approaches that measure school success in terms that align with our values as a foundation. We also want to learn about possible impediments to the kind of innovation that re-engages, retains, and ensures our students are well equipped to meet the challenges in their futures.”
About Eagle Rock
Eagle Rock, a nonprofit Corporate Social Responsibility initiative of the American Honda Motor Company, is both a school for high school age students and a professional development center for educators. The school is a year-round, residential, and full-scholarship school that enrolls young people ages 15-17 from around the United States in an innovative learning program with national recognition.
The Professional Development Center works with educators from around the country who are interested in engaging in education renewal and reform. The Professional Development Center works with educators committed to making high school a more engaging experience for our country’s youth.
We envision this country’s high schools as high functioning centers of engagement and learning. We accelerate school improvement and support implementation of engaging practices that foster each students’ unique potential and help young people use their minds well.