Asking critical questions isn’t just a tool classroom teachers use with students. It’s something we as educators do on a regular basis to help enhance our practices. It is because of this constant examination that Hilliard City Schools is leading the way and taking action to enhance student learning.
This year, the district’s Continuous Improvement Plan (CIP) establishes a goal that “student learning will be maximized through the implementation of 21st century instructional practices that are responsive to assessment results and designed to meet the individual needs of students.” While this means many things, it specifically includes the establishment of a grading and assessment task force. This group of teachers and administrators will examine research-based best practices and share their finding related to the creation of common formative assessments and general assessment practices. It is important that we continue to ask questions and look at what the research tells us when it comes to student learning and in this case how we determine a student’s progress.
A similar task force was established last school year to review honors classes and the grades assigned to those program options. As a district we noticed some inconsistencies among the rigor and demand between honors and regular level courses. In addition, some students who were capable of more challenging work were not choosing the honors level courses due to concerns over their grade point average (GPA). To help address both items, honors courses are now weighted classes that provide an incentive for students to take the more challenging curriculum. In addition, a greater emphasis is being placed on the rigor of the courses to provide more consistency across the district.
Opportunities such as these allow us as educators to constantly question, refine and enhance our practices while also providing a better experience for students. This is what the “Hilliard Way” is all about. Allowing good people to ask the right questions that ultimately create a more personalized and stronger educational experience for every student.