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The report card system is designed to communicate the learner’s performance during the educational process. Report cards are usually issued to the student or to the student’s parents twice or four times per year. Standards based report cards (SBRC) enable parents control the progress of their children towards the attainment of the already set objectives of the grade level standards. The major difference between SBRC and grade report cards is that while the grades report cards are analyzed for each area like composition, reading and mathematics; in SBRCs, subject areas are divided into a list of knowledge and skills that the learner should master. Each individual item on the listing is scored.
There are many advantages associated with SBRC to the various people involved in the teaching-learning process. To start with, both the teacher and the parent are able to detect the strengths as well as the weaknesses of the child and, hence, get in a position to devise strategies that can be used to harness the child’s capacities. This is a crucial step that improves the performance of the learner as the major challenges facing him or her can be identified, and the necessary measures be taken. On their side, parents can tell what adjustments they ought to make, as well as decide what to review and practice at home in order to prepare the child both psychologically and intellectually to the learning process. On the other hand, teachers prepare adequately to offer the necessary assistance in the classrooms.
Another advantage is that parents are able to see the standards that their children have mastered and the ones that they have not. The main areas include reading, mathematics, and composition that are the very areas enabling students solve problems and show good results in the other subjects. Consequently, parents are able to provide their children with appropriate advice and incite them into occupying themselves with all these areas bearing in mind that they will require all those skills in the future (Educational Leadership, 2012). The next advantage is that grades listed in the SBRC reflect the level of achievement in the end of the learning process for each standard. Practice is not included in this report. This is significant as it enables the three parties, - teachers, parents and students, - get the feedback of their efforts within a short period of time. If the feedback is positive, the same trends are followed; otherwise, necessary adjustments are made.
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Another advantage is the fact that SBRC creates more dependable curriculum among the teachers on the same grade level. It encourages closer interactions between teachers that, in turn, facilitates problem sharing on areas that require some improvements and hence come up with new strategies to cope with them. With the SBRC, it is possible to ascertain who, teachers or parents, has failed in student’s mastering of skills and concepts. If the problem lies in understanding general concepts or digesting fundamentals of the subject, then the teacher takes the blame; whereas parents take the blame when there is a problem with the completion of homework. Finally, efforts and the work habits are reported separately. Efforts indicate the diligence that the student has towards the attainment of the goals that have been set forth. Work habits, on the other hand, illustrate the temperament of the student in handling his or her main activities in school (American Fork, 2012).
The grade report cards normally test students concerning their assignments before they get sufficient practice and mastery, which is an inconvenience to the learners. Additionally, the grading system shows the overall performance of the student but does not point areas that the learners know or does not know. This is different from grading in the SBRCs as every bit that the learner does not understand is highlighted.
Adoption Process to the Use of Standards Based Report Cards with Each Group of Stakeholders
With the above mentioned advantages of adopting the SBRC, it is obvious that many would maintain the idea and would campaign for it. There are, however, some steps that each of the stakeholders is expected to take in order to fit and interact with the rest properly, as well as be comfortable with the new system failure to which one might feel stranded and fail to realize his or her responsibility. This might have an acute problem to not only the individual but also to the rest of the parties, and this might cause frustrations to all of them, and consequently lead to the collapse of the system. In order to come up with a group of cooperating stakeholders who can work efficiently, the individual groups of people must be mobilized to play their roles effectively and have healthy interactions with their colleagues in order to overcome any potential challenges that are likely to arise (Educational Leadership, 2012). Some of such groups will be discussed below emphasizing the specific adoption processes that can be used on them to heighten their efficiency.
Teachers undoubtedly form the most basic group in adopting the new system as everything revolves around them. They are the intermediaries between parents and children and are closer to the children than the parents are, as many of the hours are spent in the classroom with the teacher than with parents at home. It is for this very reason that there is a need to ensure that they perceive everything that the new system entails (American Fork, 2012).
The very first step in innovation adoption is enlightening teachers about what the system is all about and acquainting them with the various advantages that it is associated with. This will make them embrace the idea and be willing to follow the consequent steps irrespective of how demanding they might be. The second step consists in training them on how to develop the standards based report cards that capture all the necessary areas precisely, clearly and direct unto the point, not to confuse parents.
Since teachers close enough to the student’s parents, they should be encouraged to develop the right etiquette, humility and temperament as they will sometimes be expected to explain to them how the system works and show them how to derive a sense out of the cards. Perhaps the most essential thing is motivating teachers in moving towards the right direction in the new system implementation. They can be either intrinsically or extrinsically motivated, but intrinsic motivation works better when partially reinforced with extrinsic motivation. This has the implication that there should be an internal drive to propel teachers towards the right direction.
Paraprofessionals are employees of the local education agency who are mainly entitled to offer instructional support. To start with, the paraprofessional will be required to offer one-on-one tutorials to the students and advice them on how to improve their performance when such programs is organized by teachers. They will additionally help in classroom management, like in organizing instructional materials, which will increase the efficiency of teachers and consequently enhance constant and effective learning. They will also assist teachers in identifying various challenges that students might be encountering in the learning process, which will be recorded in the final report.
Paraprofessionals will also be involved in assisting students in the computer laboratories. These are areas that are normally dominated by technicians, and the class teacher has least control over the learners. Paraprofessionals will thus make records of the performance of individual students and hand the records to the class teacher. They will also be involved in stimulating parental involvement such as interactions between the teacher, student and parents. This explicitly explains the reason as to why these individuals are so important in the adoption process of this system. They are finally expected to act as mediators or be involved in the provision of instructional assistance services; however, under the supervision of a well qualified teacher. This enables them to unite learners with new teachers and encourage them to appreciate each other while he or she monitors the relationships between the two parties (Texas Educational Agency, 2012).
The curriculum director must be encouraged to design a curriculum that poses an average level of difficulty to the learners in relation to their age. This means that they should not design concepts and ideas that are difficult for students to comprehend as this would contribute to their failure and hence ruin the reputation of the system. The curriculum director is also expected to train the teachers who are to teach the curriculum in class (eHow, 2012). The director should keep in mind the current technology, the associated software, and how to engage students with it. The director will additionally be expected to assess whether the school programs and the previously set standards and regulations are harmonized. The director does this by evaluating the curriculum and teachers using either direct observation or the teacher or student surveys. All these activities will help identify any activity within the school that is not in accord with the right events that should take place within the school (eHow, 2012). Direct involvement of the director is inalienable.
Academic coaching is meant providing learners with guidance, skills and the necessary support that will enable them reach the long-term objectives and the general success. Academic coaches normally work solely with the learners to perceive priorities and set goals that will enhance the success. Academic coaches such as those that are in the field of athletics are expected to share perfect strategies, resources and academic learning tools to enable students escalate to their maximum potentials and even beyond. Cooperating with the academic coach will, therefore, be crucial to ensure that the areas that they are taking care of are adequately taken into consideration (Idealist, 2012).
The academic coach alongside the other stakeholders should come up with new and effective strategies to ensure that the semester is well organized from the very beginning to the end. They should also come up with techniques to alleviate exam anxiety in order to help students pass the exams without stress and panic. The coach should also help in strengthening study skills. This is a responsibility that can ruin the entire system as people blame the system for any fail even when the true problem lies in them. They should additionally increase the awareness of the campus resources, develop a feasible time management strategy and devise an action plan to attain the preset academic goals (Suffolk University, 2012).
Community forms the backbone of the required goals of education as it sets the goals that it expects education must attain. It requires that the end products from education have capacities to provide credible solutions to the contemporary issues facing it. It is only through this way that the community can approve the need of having schools, failure to which, education may be deemed useless and more of a liability than a utility. The community can enhance adoption of the system by calling upon the youngsters to work hard and devote themselves to the process of attaining the preset goals of the system (Educational Leadership, 2012).
Aspiration of the community for providing an optimum environment for a proper implementation of the system will result in its unimpeded adoption. Such an environment would include maintenance of the understanding within the society as riots affect the educational process negatively, presence of role models that can be emulated by the learners, and advising the students on how to be successful in the future. Though it might seem problematic the innovation to the entire community, there are certain methods that can be used to reach it effectively. The media take the very first position including televisions, newspapers, magazines, internet, and the radios. Banners may also be posted in major town centers offering brief directions on how to handle students. Finally, mass meetings can be organized where booklets and guidelines can be offered.
These are institutions of higher learning that produce professionals of different fields including teachers themselves. Their diligence in the provision of quality education guide is significant to ensure that their “products” are productive members of the society who can give solutions to problems. Universities will be expected to set a desirable environment that can be admired by the students and that can attract them. This will undoubtedly encourage them to remain focused and desire to be like scholars in these institutions. The universities should train teachers on how to work on the new environment after the introduction of the new system. Petitioning to the universities to provide resource persons is also a necessary measure to take. Use of the media and the Internet is undoubtedly the most efficient way to incite the universities into producing professionals that will be responsible and have knowledge in making and understanding the SBRCs. Seniors in these institutions may also be approached to affirm whether the resource persons will be available.
Though cooperating with parents is the most crucial thing in adoption of the standards-based report card, making all of them understand how the system operates is the most difficult task in the entire implementation process (Rediker Software, Inc., 2012). This follows that parents and caregivers are furthest to reach, and most of the time they are unavailable to update as they are normally engaged in many daily activities that might hinder them from attending meetings. The only feasible way to attract the attention of parents is to communicate with them through the class teachers of their children. They will be advised to ask all the questions that they want from the teachers. They should ask whether their children are proficient in various skills and inquire whether they should be bothered about their children’s progress after the release of their semester report. Parents also ought to be sure that their children are completing assignments and acquiring good working habits, which may not be indicated clearly on the report card.
Parents and caregivers will also be encouraged to capitalize on the additional info provided on the report cards concerning how the student is performing in school. The parent can take concern over a particular subject and then ask the teacher on how he or she can help the child improve it at home. The parent might also request the teacher to help the student in improving the same subject at school. Finally, since the report card is basically designed to communicate between the teacher and the parent, parents should raise concerns in the areas that they feel that the card needs to be improved, clarified or removed and discuss them with the principal or the teacher (GreatSchools Inc., 2012). Another method that will be used to enlighten the parents is the use of the media like televisions, newspapers and the Internet. The school can also print booklets and magazines which might include guidelines on how to understand the SBRC.
For any process to succeed, it is mandatory for the entire group of the stakeholders to fully participate in the process of implementing it. In the case of the standards-based report cards, quite a large number of individuals are involved in the adoption process, and all must be satisfied with the objectives of the system. In case this does not happen, some individuals might not comprehend what the system is all about and will probably reject it. Before taking any other step to adopt the system, the very first step is drawing the attention of the stakeholders (GreatSchools Inc., 2012).
Monitoring the Formative Impact and Progress of the Changes in Order to Make Necessary Adjustments in the Strategy
Certainly, there are inevitable changes that are bound to happen during the process of the system adoption. To avoid frustration of teachers and parents, as well as students, certain precautions must be put into consideration as a means of encouraging harmony, interaction and cooperation among these parties. All the negative impacts associated with the system adoption must be monitored in order to analyze and minimize faults. Adjustment of the system requires the attention of not only the teachers and parents, but also of the community, curriculum director, academic coach and all the other stakeholders earlier mentioned.
Embarking on the Potential Difficulties within the System adoption
One of the major challenge that the system poses to all the parties involved include the fact that it becomes extremely difficult for everyone to perceive what the system demands and their responsibility towards its development. This makes them disregard the system and assume that it can never work in the real world. To correct this fallacy, it is indubitable that one would have to be an extra diligent, persevering and, perhaps, persistence in order to call for mutual understanding among the parties. After convincing the parties that the system is feasible, the consequent changes that arise afterwards have to be regulated so that parties can keep abreast with the system and support its growth.
To start with, teachers will normally encounter problems in developing SBRC. To overcome this problem, high qualified professionals will be invited to train them on how to develop the cards with ease (Ministry of Education, 2012). Such professionals include scholars, curriculum developers and other personnel from the ministry of education. Collecting information from all the appropriate areas, analyzing it and presenting it in a coherent manner in the card will involve practice. This will require resources, which will have to be provided sufficiently for the teachers. Parents, on the other hand, have to receive some training on how to interpret the information provided on the card. There are two ways in which this can be achieved: a meeting can be called, and scholars can be hired to educate parents, or teachers can be assigned the responsibility of clarifying it to parents.
Though both methods can be used, hiring scholars is, on the one hand, expensive, but, on the other, credible as scholars might compromise the quality of tutorials they offer to parents with their payment. Students are the other group that ought to be taken into consideration. With the change in the system, it is obvious that there will be many changes in academics including the curriculum that will take place (Educational Leadership, 2012). If nothing is done, students are likely to get frustrated. They should, therefore, be guided on how to adapt to the new environment and be encouraged to ask questions concerning everything that they do not comprehend.
Like earlier mentioned, to provide an unimpeded implementation of the system, all members must be conscious of the importance and future benefits of innovation and help minimize negative aspects in areas that should be rectified. It is only after this information has been acquired that the right measures can be deployed. Keen observance, unbiased decision making and patience are undoubtedly the virtues that one ought to have to ascertain that the system prevails.
Expected Reactions and How to Deal With Them
People react in different ways to any kind of change no matter how small. After implementing the new system, there are of course some reactions from the involved stakeholders that can be predicted. To ensure that everything is under control and hence prevent the subsequent problems that may threat the entire system, some of these reactions and the pre-designed remedies are discussed in this section.
Firstly, the system is supposed to experience some rejection from stakeholders as it is difficult to comprehend. This problem will be solved by explaining the advantages of the system adoption despite the shortcomings of its implementation. Another issue that may arise is training of the parties involved. This will be solved by hiring highly qualified personnel to train teachers and parents how to adapt to the new environment. The final challenge to face the adoption of this system is financial constraints necessary for purchasing equipment and resources for the system. This will be solved by seeking financial aids from the Department of Education and other financial institutions.
To set a national education system on the proper course is quite a complex task that demands the attention of all the stakeholders. It all begins with elaborate research to identify challenges in addition to solutions. Further, it helps in determining the political and economic future of any nation by creating an educational system that prepares modern youths for the problems of tomorrow. The process requires both cooperation and coordination between administrators, policy-makers, teachers and parents in their quest to ascertain that youngsters are educated to the recommendable levels. Some of the areas that educational leadership encompasses include instructional improvement and curriculum design, proper school management, developing the staff and effective program assessment, identifying educational requirements and leadership skills in both individuals and groups among others mentioned above. Generally, it can be inferred that educational results will be determined by the strategies employed in the educational sector and cooperation between all the stakeholders. As already observed, the interaction between teachers, parents, students, as well as scholastic administrators should be adjusted by the educational leader.
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