Since it was announced that students in Michigan would be taking a new assessment this spring, people have been grumbling about whether the scores would count. At IEE, we believe that even if schools draw a bye with the M-STEP this year, we have a responsibility to our students to perform like a championship team.
Any reprieve in state rankings should not reduce our accountability. This is the opportunity for educators in Michigan to demonstrate the high level of professionalism for which we beg to be afforded. That means being accountable even when no one is looking. Especially when no one is looking.
When the Red Wings draw a bye we don’t see them packing up their equipment and heading to the local establishment for a cold one. No, we see them hitting the ice with determination, grit, and gusto.
Here are three things great teams do when they draw a bye:
Test the Ice
Serious teams do not let up. Even when they draw a bye they run their drills, push each player harder, and review each play. They look for flaws which, should they surface during the big match, would cost them the championship.
And, with the M-STEP, we are skating on new ice. We need to test it first. This is your opportunity to run your students through the technology drill. Can they scroll fast enough through the questions to allow them to be successful on the test? What happens if their computer freezes? Create the environment, make it real, and look for flaws that will trip them up when the stakes are higher.
Collect Formative Data
Teams that draw a bye use practice time to collect stats on their players. What are their strengths? What are their weaknesses? How can we capitalize on each of those?
The same goes for the upcoming administration of the M-STEP. Use this as an opportunity to collect authentic data about each of your students. It is highly likely that students have never experienced an assessment like this one. Professional educators will seize the moment and use this test as an opportunity to gather stats on their students. Doing this provides you with a learning roadmap for your students for the coming year.
Celebrate the Game
Great teams love competition. They thrive on their ability to get in the game to show their athletic prowess and demonstrate their skill. They live for the game.
Many of us believe that if the high-stakes pressures were removed, and we were allowed to simply teach, high-performing students would be a natural bi-product of education. This is our opportunity to prove it. Celebrate the game of learning and use this assessment to be competitive, demonstrate the skills and knowledge of your students, and bring home the win.
If Michigan schools draw a bye with the M-STEP scores, we should celebrate. But that doesn’t mean we let up!