School and District Level
Increasing Coursework Benchmarked to International Standards
- Increase the availability of Advanced Placement® (AP) courses, International Baccalaureate® (IB) courses, Cambridge AICE (British A-Level) Examinations and/or other dual credit courses by establishing a funding source or seeking grant funds for expanding districts’ dual credit programs aligned to international standards.
- Identify and use existing courses already benchmarked to international standards.
- In schools or districts where textbook adoption occurs at the local level, create policies for adopting only those materials that are aligned to international standards and have been evaluated and validated by an external source.
- Promote after-school and youth programs that are aligned to international standards and 21st century skills.
Professional or Teacher Learning Communities (PLCs, TLCs)
- Ensure adequate non-instructional time for teacher collaborative and other professional learning.
- Establish learning communities for professional development that are related to international standards and the benchmarking process — Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) or Teacher Learning Communities (TLCs).
- Review the work of Dr. Dylan Wiliam, Director of the Institute of Education London. Teacher Learning Communities (TLCs) work best when they adhere to the following key principles: (1)
- Gradualism: Gradually identify and address changes over time (two or three at a time) and as these are mastered, add changes.
- Flexibility: Teachers should feel free to modify new techniques, so they work in their classrooms — they often improve them!
- Choice: Teachers select what they will change, but within a framework of accountability. They are accountable for changing something.
- Accountability: Teachers need to be held accountable for making changes by their colleagues at monthly TLC meetings.
- Support: There needs to be training for those who lead the TLCs. This leader doesn’t “make” others change, but creates situations in which teachers can change.
- Balanced Assessment: TLCs that focus on the use of minute-to- minute and day-to-day assessment (formative classroom assessments) to adjust teaching to meet student needs, result in greater student achievement.
- TLCs are structured meetings with clear agendas that require accountability and engagement of all participants. (www.DylanWiliam.net)
- Review the work of the Center for Teaching Quality, From Isolation to Collaboration: Promoting Teacher Leadership Through PLCs
(see Additional Resources).
Teacher and Administrator Mentoring and Coaching
- Create and/or participate in school, district or state-based teacher mentoring, and principal and teacher leadership opportunities.
- Ensure that leaders are truly instructional leaders and receive training, support and coaching to perform that role.
- School leaders periodically should review personnel policies and practices relating to recruitment, selection, evaluation and promotion of personnel based on teachers’ capacity to teach to international standards.
- Adopt teacher (and administrator) placement policies that ensure the most skilled professionals work where they are most needed.
- King’s Assessment for Learning Group Web site, including work by Dr. Dylan Wiliam,