Douglas Reeves

Douglas Reeves, PhD, has worked with education, business, nonprofit, and government organizations throughout the world. He is the author of more than 30 books and more than 100 articles on leadership and organizational effectiveness.

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You'll only be able to "get it right the first time" if you use a shovel.

Do You Want to Dig a Ditch or Build a Bridge? Your Grading System Will Answer The Question

Categories: Assessment

I recently received a question from a teacher who was concerned that her colleagues, who were opposed to changes in grading systems, insisted that in the real world, it was essential to get things right the first time.  Therefore, her colleagues claimed, the average, along with draconian punishments for failures, were appropriate grading policies.
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Buried under work before standardized testing

The “Getting Them Ready” Myth

Categories: 21st Century Skills

“Straighten up, Mary!” I said sternly. “I know that it’s your 3rd birthday party, but in just a couple of years you’re going to be in kindergarten, and I hear that they are pretty tough there. So from now on, you can’t just go to the bathroom whenever you feel like it, but you’ll need to raise your hand and stand in line. And all of those bedtime stories, Saturday pancakes, and stuffed animals? You’re not going to get any of that at Lincoln Elementary School, so forget about them! We’re going to toughen you up now so you’ll be ready for your next level of education.” Sound ridiculous? Not any more than the excuses for toxic practices at every level of schooling, all in the name of “getting them ready” for the next level of education.

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whistle blowing

Assessment Literacy Lives! (Just Not Where You Think It Does)

Categories: Assessment

For decades, the clarion call for “assessment literacy” has been made by educational thought leaders such as James Popham, the late Grant Wiggins, Rick Stiggins, and others. But even though the need for assessment literacy is greater than ever, the reality is that undergraduate – and even graduate – courses in assessment often fail to provide teachers with the essential information they need to apply the lessons of assessment literacy in the classroom.

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Accountability: accept responsibility of to account for one's actions

Redefining Accountability in the ESSA Era

Categories: Assessment

After two decades of test-based accountability, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) opens the door for a new vision of educational accountability. Of course, great schools have always known that accountability was more than the sum of their test scores, but it was not easy to focus the public’s attention (or that of state and federal government’s) on much aside from the latest batch of scores from tests that may or may not have had much relationship to classroom learning. Although the ESSA and educational officials will continue to care about reading and math scores, the opportunity for states and local school districts to redefine accountability is an exciting one. My vision of Next Generation Accountability systems has three elements: causes, not just effects; learning, not just “gotcha’s!; and physicals, not autopsies. Read more

New Year's resolutions about New Year's resolutions

New Year’s Resolutions About New Year’s Resolutions

Categories: 21st Century Skills

As we greet another turn of the calendar, we embark on two time-honored traditions: setting New Year’s resolutions and breaking them. On January 1, we resolve to lose weight. By Super Bowl Sunday, we will feast on meat-lovers pizza with cheese-infused crust, washed down with a gallon or two of anything-but-lite beer, and—burp!—please pass the deep-fried artichokes (they’re vegetables, right?), chicken wings, and Twinkies.

Educators face an even more daunting chasm between good intentions and reality. On January 1, we resolve to focus on the “main thing” and, within only a few weeks, we are overwhelmed with the reality of well-intentioned but ultimately futile and destructive initiatives. Read more