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10/23/2012

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Spending learners for placing more attempt into consistent assessments isn't likely to challenge innate inspiration, because most children are unlikely to think of test-taking as inspirational anyway. But as you mentioned, it is startling to think that the high-stakes assessments upon which so many choices relax can be affected by such a simple compensate. It is somewhat a foreseeable result when the assessments are high-stakes for everyone but the learners who take some of them of them determine that out!

Engagement is definitely the ticket here, as is motivation, but how do we get there? Purpose is essential in learning. Why do it if it doesn't matter? We also need to consider tangible purpose. Is it purposeful for study in depth things that they we will never actually touch or experience? Place based education, coupled with project based learning, that is engaging and meaningful might be our solution. If studying water is the standard, what better way to actually study it than by touching it, exploring it, and visiting it. If we have the expectation that our students move from the abstract to the concrete in their learning, than that learning must also be concrete.

Paying students for putting more effort into standardized tests isn't likely to undermine intrinsic motivation, because most kids are unlikely to think of test-taking as motivational anyway. But as you noted, it is sobering to think that the high-stakes tests upon which so many decisions rest can be influenced by such a trivial reward. It is to some extent a predictable outcome when the tests are high-stakes for everyone but the students who take them--some of them figure that out!

If we don't consider engagement as a part of the overall puzzle that is student achievement then the common core movement will be minimally effective. Engagement truly is the name of the game and yet it's something educators know little about.

We are often assessed as a country on the NAEP, SAT, ACT, yet how many students are truly engaged too take these? Perhaps the new movements in education will direct us to more engaging assessments and instruction that will utlimately lead to more engagement of the students. If not then Rip Van Winkle will wake up in 2106 and still recognize school except this time the board will be a smart board.

So many of the problems and apparent problems in education funnel back to motivation. We can change standards all day and night, raise the bar, lower it, turn it into chocolate cake, and if students don't have buy in, then I suspect our efforts won't be rewarded. But motivation itself is not a solution. It's an inspiring idea. Motivating students is a very complex topic, especially if you're looking to externally motivate. Taping student's internal drives seems like a good approach.

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