Illuminating the Instructional Experience

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Centering Students in Measurement

At a time when there are calls to reimagine education, how can we better understand what is happening in teaching and learning to create responsive interventions?

  • Over the past two decades, there has been an increasing focus on measuring outcomes in education. Families care deeply about their child’s education. Policymakers want to understand whether investments in education are working. Unfortunately, many of the most common evaluation methods are lacking in key ways. Illuminating the Instructional Experience tells the story of how we collaborated with a team of researchers for more than a year to devise a better way forward.
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Report: Illuminating the Instructional Experience

Four years after closely aligning our teacher support to content standards and standards-aligned instructional materials, we were finding that we lacked ideal methods for seeing changes in teaching and making adjustments. After consulting with partners, research literature, and peer organizations, we recognized that this was a sector-wide problem. 

To solve this challenge, we created an advisory board of research and practice experts and collaborated around common evaluation needs. Our new report shares what we learned about considering academics, well-being, and cultural responsiveness in teacher practice as well as the questions we still have for the sector.

Download the Report
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Bringing the Report to Life

To accompany the release of this report, we brought together three of the advisors for a virtual panel about the big takeaways. During this one-hour session, they cover the importance of all students having access to grade-appropriate tasks and teaching, how mindset manifests in the classroom, and why teacher evaluation should be paired with professional learning.

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Dr. Hill: "Data alone isn’t the question – it's about how it’s used."

In an ideal system, you would have professional development aligned to the observation system. That’s not the system we put together in the United States. Teachers have to be involved and have agency in their own growth. This is an area where we can do better.

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Dr. Berry: "How do we create spaces where students are willing to be participatory?"

The participatory classroom gives teachers access to students' thinking. When students are willing to take the risk to participate, it gives teachers the opportunity to know what students understand and what work teachers can do to support them.

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Dr. Daughtery: "Instruments can’t capture hearts and they can’t capture teachers’ biases."

Many variables go into teaching, so it’s really hard to figure out what effective looks like. One thing we know for sure is that 99% of the time in the lesson, kids need access to grade-level texts. That doesn't change this next year.

Meet Our Advisors

Throughout this process to continuously learn and build on our strengths, we have had the support of an incredible group of education researchers. Learn more about them below.

Robert Berry

Professor of Mathematics, University of Virginia
Robert Q. Berry, III is the Samuel Braley Gray Professor of Mathematics Education at the University of Virginia the Curry School of Education & Human Development with an appointment in Curriculum Inst...
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Miah Daughtery

Director of Content Advocacy and Design at NWEA
A focused and passionate educator, Miah has more than ten years' experience at the classroom, district, and state levels.
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Jessica Eadie

Chief Operating Officer at Student Achievement Partners
Jessica Eadie is the Chief Operating Officer at Student Achievement Partners.
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Heather Hill

Heather C. Hill studies policies and programs designed to improve mathematics teacher and teaching quality.
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Matthew Steinberg

Associate Professor
Dr. Matthew P. Steinberg is an Associate Professor of Education Policy in the College of Education and Human Development, a University Affiliate Faculty at the Schar School of Policy and Government, a...
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Robert Berry

Miah Daughtery

Jessica Eadie

Heather Hill

Matthew Steinberg

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