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.

View full profile

What can you do in 100 days?

What Can You Do in 100 Days?


Based on 100-Day Leaders: Turning Short-Term Wins Into Long-Term Success in Schools

Our book, 100-Day Leaders, makes the case for immediate change—change that can take place in a single semester. We argue that change must take place now, just as the US Constitution, one of Dostoevsky’s best novels, and some of the world’s best music were all created within 100 days. This is not just one more leadership strategy; it’s a moral imperative.

Imagine that you took your child to kindergarten and the principal said, “We’re working on a great literacy program, and we expect to fully implement it in five to seven years because, after all, that’s how long it takes for effective change.” You might say, “Thanks a heck of a lot, but my five-year-old child will be 12, and it’s a bit late at that point for your hot, new literacy program to become effective!” Read more

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.
Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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