Is ‘common’ what we are really striving for?

February 23, 2011

So, to challenge my thinking about what this looks like on a large scale, I recently had the opportunity to consider significant gaps between different children from different families in my daughter’s grade level. On the surface, the 6 children all seemed similar- educated parents, literate backgrounds, English speaking, school oriented, attending a school in which the program is designed to support engagement and academic achievement appropriate in early childhood (to the best they can while adhering to current district, state and federal policy.) These 6 children are all making significant growth, developing in language, literacy and content understandings. But, ‘success’ and ‘achievement’ looks radically different for each of them- as they approach and attach to very different elements of the curriculum and perform VERY differently on standardized assessments. My consideration of these specific children has led my thinking down new paths and I do not think the answer for these kids is to get them to all be able to perform on these tests, or even be standardized to achieve the same things. The individual approach to thinking, creative application of ideas and ways of expressing themselves should not be fit into ‘common expectations’. The normal variation in these 9 year olds does not need to be ‘fixed’. Those not performing highly on standardized tests do not need to be ‘saved’. They need latitude and engagement and highly informed teachers who can understand who they are, how they learn and ways to access high level thinking and interacting (spoken and written) about ideas.

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2 Responses to “Is ‘common’ what we are really striving for?”


  1. I agree with you so totally and absolutely. @sandyhubbard sent me your way, and I’m glad she did. We think the same way about children and school and I imagine a lot of other things.

    Good to meet you!

  2. monika hardy Says:

    bravo.

    i think we need as well – space without a compulsory curriculum. (meaning – taking the test away isn’t enough.) space without a given agenda. mentors around them that trust curiosity within such a space.


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