It would seem obvious, you begin where you are. But to really know where you are with education reform, you do need some assessments—these assessments are not what you might think. To really assess where you are, you have to step back to get a wider view of what is happening and what has happened that contributed to producing what now exists as your reality.
Unfortunately, this first step appears to be where the first mistakes are made. We need to spend more time at this point because our assessment of our current state of affairs, the status quo, will play a huge role in determining the beliefs and assumptions that will guide our actions.
Whether you are looking at the local level with school improvement or at state and national levels with education reform law, you must have a very clear and accurate picture of the conditions that need changing and how they were created.
So my advice on where to begin is to assess not just the students’ scores on tests but to proceed with assessing where teachers, parents, and the business community believe we can improve. That input should then narrow the choices for further assessment tools that can be used. For every aspect of reform that you may be concerned about, there’s an assessment for that!
Then with our principles firmly cemented in our hearts and our assessments in hand, we are there – where we begin.