TeachME Professional Development

Discovering and Supporting Deeper Learning

Introduction

1. Practitioners currently working in American public education are tasked with an ever-increasing set of ambitions which include:

A. Creating classrooms that support critical and creative thinking

B. Focusing on 21st-century skills and cultivating authentic inquiry

C. Teaching reflective habits of mind and placing students at the center of instruction

D. All of the above


2. Many experts contend that reorganizing schools around deeper learning is particularly critical at this moment in history due to the recognition that successfully navigating 21st-century adult life requires far more than basic academic knowledge and skills.

A. True

B. False


3. New aspirations for schools include using the language of 21st-century skills-a term that refers to competencies such as creativity, problem solving, and collaboration, along with "the new three 'R's" of school reform:

A. Reasoning, resolution, and readiness

B. Rigor, relevance, and relationships

C. Requisition, review, and real-world

D. Revelation, refinement, reciprocation


Perspectives on Deeper Learning

4. Cognitive scientists think of deep learning, or what they might call learning for understanding, as the ability to absorb and store knowledge.

A. True

B. False


5. Rather than moving mechanically through a lesson, expert teachers are able to assess and respond to students' thinking, to incorporate qualities such as passion and interest, give life to learning, and create forward momentum.

A. True

B. False


6. Deeper learning often emerges at the intersection of the following three elements: mastery, creativity, and:

A. Identity

B. Differentiation

C. Inquiry

D. Integration


A Short History of Deeper Learning: Powerful Antecedents, Shallow Imprints

7. During the height of the progressive education movement, a great number of public schools were able to mirror the efforts of small private schools in drawing upon the social and cultural capital of their students to produce creative and individualized education that retained significant academic content.

A. True

B. False


8. Throughout history, the dividing lines of race and class have played a critical role in who has had access to deeper learning experiences.

A. True

B. False


Mapping the Contemporary Landscape: Observations from Our Deeper Learning Study

9. According to the authors, in order to create any kind of consistent depth from classroom to classroom, in addition to adopting a promising framework, schools must create dense and mutually supportive connections between elements such as curriculum, assessment, pedagogy, school culture, and teacher learning.

A. True

B. False


The Nature of the Challenge: Constraints and Omissions

10. Teachers report that the major structural constraint for engaging students in sustained, authentic, high-cognitive demand tasks is:

A. The inability to build relationships and create opportunities for sustained inquiry because of the total amount of students seen in a school day within a few hours

B. The pressure for content coverage associated with external assessments such as state tests, SAT IIs, and Advanced Placement exams

C. Limited opportunity to engage students in tasks that involve real choice and latitude

D. None of the above


Building a System to Support Deeper Learning

11. Although The Common Core State Standards are designed to make learning cognitively challenging and personally engaging, there appears to be a current rush to stamp "common core aligned" on to existing materials without making substantive changes to what students study and what they are asked to do with it.

A. True

B. False


12. The most important priority in creating a system that would support deeper learning is to incentivize teachers to seek out mentoring and training opportunities to restructure their teaching practices.

A. True

B. False


13. Which of the following is NOT one of the key reasons that the current focus on high-stakes individual teacher evaluation is considered counterproductive?

A. It focuses narrowly on performance on state-administered tests in reading and math

B. It discourages the kind of experimentation and unlearning that real change requires

C. It implies that teachers who adhere most closely to educational standards are the "best" teachers

D. It places the onus of improvement on individual teachers rather than on schools as whole organizations


Conclusion

14. To truly embrace deeper learning, K-12 schools will need to resist the urge and incentive to measure their success by how much they cover, and districts and states will need to fight the desire to control teachers and schools and focus instead on supporting them as learners.

A. True

B. False


Part II-How School Districts Can Support Deeper Learning-Introduction

15. A new wave of research suggests that central offices can support the goals of deeper learning by making a genuine commitment to to ensure that they are spending their time and other resources on the right work, a process known as:

A. Performance alignment

B. Production regulation

C. Execution accommodation

D. None of the above


What is Deeper Learning and What Do Central Offices Have to Do with It?

16. Many researchers have found that while high standards and expectations set the stage for student success, the in-school factors that tend to have the most powerful influences are student/teacher/peer relationships.

A. True

B. False


Why Central Offices Struggle to Support improvements in Teaching and Learning

17. Factors that contribute to the struggles district central offices face when working to support ambitious teachers and learning include:

A. The misalignment of central office resources, data, and other systems, and competition/lack of coordination within the office

B. Lack of access to available data for targeting resources for improvement

C. The hiring/placement of personnel in many school districts does not function in ways that support improved teaching and learning

D. All of the above


18. One potentially promising development in the support of deeper learning is that some district leaders have begun to assign cross-functional teams-including representatives from several central office units-to work together to support teaching and learning in a cluster of schools.

A. True

B. False


What Can Central Offices Do to Support System-Wide Deeper Learning?

19. The three primary design elements common in performance-oriented district central offices include each of the following EXCEPT:

A. Define high-quality teaching and principal and teacher leadership

B. Ensure that principal supervisors are truly focused on supporting principals' instructional leadership growth

C. Focus on integrating state capacity-building, district vision, and principal direction

D. Enable all district staff to focus their time and other resources on activities that support schools' pursuit of deeper learning.


Define High-Quality Teaching and Principal Instructional Leadership

20. Teachers and principals are likely to benefit from district improvement efforts when they have opportunities to participate in defining their professional standards and deciding which of them to prioritize.

A. True

B. False


21. Districts that align their performance to the goals of deeper learning are careful to adopt definitions of high-quality teaching and principal leadership that are:

A. Empowering, strategic, and reliable

B. Specific, shared, and research-based

C. Visionary, unique, and scientific

D. Authentic, targeted, and judicious


Ensure That Principal Supervisors are Truly Focused on Supporting Instructional Leadership

22. Although district principal supervisors are in unique positions to provide needed leadership, they are often stalled because of tasks such as monitoring schools' compliance with federal, state, and district policies, running interference for ineffective central office units, and conducting principal evaluations.

A. True

B. False


Ensure that all District Staff Members Focus Their Time and Other Resources on Activities that Support Schools' Pursuit of Deeper Learning

23. Adequate data fundamental to system-wide improvement should answers such key questions as: What is the current capacity of teachers in each school relative to the district's instructional framework, the district's strategic plan, and the individual school's improvement plan? And do our efforts reflect the latest knowledge about how best to support teachers in reaching such goals?

A. True

B. False


Address Teaching and Learning Across the Subject Areas

24. Although it is important for leaders to consider working collaboratively across professional development areas, the initial focus must be to prioritize the schools' greatest subject-matter need before considering overall needs and priorities.

A. True

B. False


Search Out Additional Opportunities for Alignment

25. In order to avoid predictable problems such as competition among units, lack of coordination, and use of the wrong data to inform change, district leaders must consider all parts of the central office operation when initiating change.

A. True

B. False


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