For us in Mississippi, the weather in December brings varying degrees of difficulty when it comes to predicting what to wear outside. By no means have I ever attested to have Mississippi winter weather patterns figured out, even after living most of my life in the state. This variability, at least for me, always introduces some skepticism when viewing long-range weather forecasts. Even last month, I wore anything from shorts and a short sleeve shirt to clothes lined with base-layer gear.
Variability and an absence of reliability is not what we are looking for as educators, whether the focal point is classroom assessments or statewide assessments of student mastery. The issue with trying to decrease such variance is we are combating historical procedural norms.Thomas Guskey, Professor Emeritus in the College of Education at the University of Kentucky, succinctly stated that despite the popularity of using percentage grading systems, they are difficult to defend. He references Starch and Elliott, who explained this difficulty in 1912 (
). Inconsistency across judges (teachers) tended to be the biggest culprit for the problem.
Training relative to assessment literacy and a migration to more reliable, narrower scales can promote more accurate and valid decisions about the quality of students' performance. With that said, I wanted to notify everyone of the dates for the annual spring Test Coordinator training. We will have one training day at the Hunter Henry Center at Mississippi State (Feb.18) and one training day at the Lake Terrace Convention Center in Hattiesburg (Feb. 20). Like last year, these dates and locations are a change from earlier years. Spaces are limited on each day, so please only register essential staff for these events.
For our educational technology tip this month, I wanted to discuss creating routines or schedules with your mobile devices. With the release of iOS 12, Apple users can now use a feature called Siri Shortcuts. With Siri, users can pair daily routines with other applications. Siri will learn routines you have. (Some find this scary!) One example is Siri suggesting a time for you to order coffee if you typically do that on a daily basis. Google Assistant, available on Android phones, also has a routines feature. You can create routine if you tell your phone, "Let's go home." Google can also text your spouse, turn up or down your WiFi thermostat, start your Spotify playlist, and start your Google Maps directions.
For us in CTE, these routines will be applied to more objects that we use in our pathways as the years progress. Programmatic routines can be an unsettling concept, but I think they are here to stay in some form or fashion. Do your
research to make sure you stay abreast of the current trends.
We look forward to seeing each of you in the New Year. Make sure to bundle up for the cold and enjoy your Winter Break!
Sean Owen, PhD