Monday, March 28, 2005

The Concept of Managed Instruction...

I personally don't like this phrase, "managed instruction," but we can expect to be hearing it in greater frequency. I do agree though with providing add'l resources to low-performing schools and "guiding, supporting, and improving instruction at the building level." No mention, however, whether test scores the sole or primary indicators behind "data-driven success." Moreover, certain districts are improving achievement, but are they creating life-long learners? There's a lot to digest here. -Angela
You probably won't find the term "managed instruction" in a Google search yet, but the expression is popping up  with increased frequency in educational literature.
The basic idea is that instruction needs to be "managed," too, in the same way  urban districts effectively manage human resources, finance, facilities construction, or transportation.  The Council of Great Cities Schools 2002 report, "Foundations for Success, " offers a framework that identifies practices in ten areas, including goal-setting, curriculum, assessment, and professional development, found to be common among urban districts that are effectively improving student achievement.  Making sure the curriculum is aligned with standards and statewide assessments, and is both coherent and comprehensive, is part of more aggressively managing curriculum and instruction.

The report summarizes case study districts' approaches to reform by identifying the following elements shared in common:

They focused on student achievement and specific achievement goals, on a set schedule with defined consequences; aligned curricula with state standards; and helped translate these standards into instructional practice.

They created concrete accountability systems that went beyond what the states had established in order to hold district leadership and building-level staff personally responsible for producing results.

They focused on the lowest-performing schools. Some districts provided additional resources and attempted to improve the stock of teachers and administrators at their lowest-performing schools.

They adopted or developed districtwide curricula and instructional approaches rather than allowing each school to devise their own strategies.

They supported these districtwide strategies at the central office through professional development and support for consistent implementation throughout the district.

They drove reforms into the classroom by defining a role for the central office that entailed guiding, supporting, and improving instruction at the building level.

They committed themselves to data-driven decision-making and instruction. They gave early and ongoing assessment data to teachers and principals as well as trained and supported them as the data were used to diagnose teacher and student weaknesses and make improvements.

They started their reforms at the elementary grade levels instead of trying to fix everything at once.

They provided intensive instruction in reading and math to middle and high school students, even if it came at the expense of other subjects.

An executive summary of the report is available at: Foundations for Success  The complete report (224 pages) may be downloaded as a PDF file.
Douglas S. Fleming
P.O. Box 597  Lunenburg, MA 01462
(978) 582 4217 voice&fax  (978) 807 4095 cell

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