• If you are citizen of an European Union member nation, you may not use this service unless you are at least 16 years old.

  • Work with all your cloud files (Drive, Dropbox, and Slack and Gmail attachments) and documents (Google Docs, Sheets, and Notion) in one place. Try Dokkio (from the makers of PBworks) for free. Now available on the web, Mac, Windows, and as a Chrome extension!


Clarifying Expectations

Page history last edited by LCI, Ltd. 10 years, 2 months ago

 How do we help students understand what we mean by quality?


Teachers communicate their expectations to their students in a variety of ways - from verbal to non-verbal, from formal to informal. They may communicate their criteria before a task is assigned, while students are working, or after they've finished. LCI has been working with teachers and the concept of explicit criteria for more than fifteen years and has published articles, books, and professional development modules addressing the importance of communicating expectations to students. While working with teachers, we have discovered that many teachers have a tendency to rely on verbal explanations and the use of checklists that emphasize quantity and order, rather than quality and depth of understanding. The lack of clarity in teachers’ performance criteria often leads to disappointing results in terms of students’ work and performance or makes it difficult for the teacher and student to have a conversation around quality as they lack a common language. Oftentimes, teachers do not have a sufficiently clear image of the quality attributes of the work they expect their students to produce. Instead, they discover what they hoped students could accomplish when grading students’ work, finding one or more students that produced quality work despite the lack of clear criteria set forth before the work was done. Rubrics are one way to address these gaps between teachers' expectations and student performance. 


We define and articulate quality based on our own experiences, biases, and resources. In thinking about quality as it relates to others, specifically to our students, this definition becomes intertwined with expectations that are informed by what we, and others, believe those students can or should be able to product. The pitfall here is in allowing our experience, biases, resources, and beliefs to inform definitions and expectations of quality that unrealistic, too low, or too high.


Clearly understanding and articulating our expectations about quality is not an easy feat. Sometimes our own understanding of quality is clouded by the fact that the work we want students to product isn’t work we ourselves know well. We may lack experience teaching or even familiarity with a particular curriculum, we may be pushing our students and ourselves to thinking differently, or we may just be trying a new idea. Sometimes we aren’t completely clear about what we want students to demonstrate. Other times, we may assume that quality is so transparent that students know what we expect. Regardless of the specific reason that leads to our lack of clarity, what results is student work that can be uneven, if not downright disappointing.  


From Changing the Way You Teach, Improving the Way Students Learn

(G. Martin-Kniep and J. Picone-Zocchia)



Comments (0)

You don't have permission to comment on this page.