Discussion Matters

Each of our junior high literacy teachers is responsible for scoring approximately eighty reading assessments in the beginning of the year, so our district is kind enough to give them some release time to work on scoring the assessments.  Today, the teachers and I spent the day together in the quiet library.  They scored assessment after assessment, and I was there to answer questions and offer support.

This morning, though, on my drive to work, I was questioning whether or not this was the best use of our time.   I feel as though I have a million other things to do, and the teachers are spending another day out of their classrooms, losing those oh-so-valuable instructional minutes.

photo (11)Stacey, over at the Two Writing Teachers, recently wrote a blog post about the the importance of scoring with colleagues.  I was reminded today that she was, indeed, correct about not working in isolation.  During our time together today, we:

  • Discussed the language of the scoring rubric
  • Discussed individual student responses
  • Discussed whole-class trends
  • Discussed the validity of the assessment itself

When I hear teachers say, “What does it mean to have “partial understanding?” and “Would you call this an ‘insightful text implication’?” and “How would you score this summary?” and “Almost my entire class got a 2 in interpretation.” and “Do you think they know what the question means?” and “This girl answered every question with a summary of the text!”…. when I hear teachers looking that closely at student work, I know it was a day well spent.

Plus, we had a lot of chocolate and some good laughs.


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