Learners at the Centre: Opt-in Gradeless Prototype at the International School of Prague

Think back to when you were a student in school. Like most of us, you regularly received a grade on a test, homework assignment, participation, report card, you name it! Can you recall how it made you feel and if it helped or hindered your learning? A major challenge for many schools and a well researched obstacle to learning is grading. A number of years ago we at the International School of Prague, took on the challenge of changing ourRead more

Guiding Light Lost – Grant Wiggins

I was saddened to learn that a great leading light in the world of progressive education had passed away, Grant Wiggins. Although I had the opportunity to meet Grant on a few occasions, I did not know him well. Nonetheless, his work had a profound impact on me and my work and the work of thousands of educators from around the world. Grant was an educational leader who was willing to “tell it like it is.” Among many other important contributions,Read more

Why we come to school everyday? a student perspective

            During a recent grade 8 graduation ceremony at the International School of Prague, I was struck by a speech given by one of our grade 8 students, Hugo, about his take on the purpose of school. In his speech, Hugo challenged us and his fellow students to consider the true value of school. With his permission, I reprint some of Hugo’s comments below: Depending on when you ask them, many of the students you see in front ofRead more

What science knows and what school does

There is a contradiction between what scientific research tells us about human motivation and how the business world attempts to motivate its workforce to perform, often with the promise of a bonus or pay for performance schemes. In this regard, Dan Pink, in his book Drive, tells us that, “For too long, there’s been a mismatch between what science knows and what business does.” It turns out that counter to what we would expect, extrinsic or external “incentives” such asRead more

The Grading Game

As the International School of Prague continues its journey from traditional assessment practices to a more meaningful approach to support learning, famed assessment expert, Ken O’connor, recently spent two days working with ISP faculty, students and parents. Ken is the author of a number of books and articles about making assessment and grading in schools more effective and relevant. To a large extent, we are all a product of our schooling experiences, and we tend to expect that schools willRead more

Data, a double edged sword

A new book in the Effective International Schools Series entitled, Effective Data Management for Schools, has just been published. The book contains a variety of chapters addressing different aspects of the use of data in schools. Major topics covered are Effective Learning, Effective Operations and Effective Strategic Governance. The final section of the book called “Effective School Networks” contains a chapter with my contribution, entitled, “When is data useful and when it is not the right resource?”  I reprint belowRead more

Assessment to Support Learning

Educators have known for many years that the traditional assessment model of letter or percentage grades, is imperfect to say the least. This is why many schools are going through a process to bring our assessment practices in line with research based best practices. As our school recently engaged the middle school parent community on this topic, we had an opportunity to clarify our objectives when it comes to meaningful student assessment. Below are some of the concepts which wereRead more

From Traditional Grading To Standards Based Assessment

Assessing student achievement is an essential aspect of what good schools do. The main purpose of assessment is to provide meaningful feedback to help guide students as they endeavor to develop and improve. Assessments also inform teachers and parents about the progress a student is making. The traditional system of grading dates back over 100 years and is still the practice of most schools around the world. However, a substantial body of current research questions whether the traditional system ofRead more