Posts Tagged ‘policy’

Multiliteracy Policy Development

Posted by tricialauter on July 22, 2011

The 21st century classroom is beginning to reflect the global, digital world. Policies must follow. Policies that address multiliteracies must be developed in order to provide proper assessment and instruction. Policies within the school level, district level, and the state/national level should take into consideration the changing needs of the student population.

School Level Policies

As with any work place, an environment is established that reflects the goals and principles of its’ members. Schools must create an environment that encourages continued professional development, collaboration, and team building. Curriculum and pedagogy developed and used in the classrooms should reflect the skills students need to work and live in the global economy. Technology policies should allow integration of multiple literacies as well as provide all students the opportunity to develop specific technology and communication skills (Burbules et. al, 2006).

Distict Level Policies

In order for the school environment to support 21st century teachers and students, the district should provide access to multiple assessments, and allow input from teachers and administrators within the schools to influence district policies concerning assessment and technology. District level assessments should include formative and summative measures; acknowledging the expertise of educators. Districts should also be open to learning from other schools or professionals, especially charter schools with innovative designs (Christensen et. al, 2008).

State/National Level Policies

Policy development within the United States is influenced by many actors: political, cultural, societal. Somehow the voice of the teachers and students has been drowned out. Focus is not so much on actual understanding of learning and the context of learning, as it is about pleasing the public. As Costello and Johnson state, “The assumption behind current accountability testing is that schools as organizations, and the individuals within them, are not only unable to monitor their own performances but also are unlikely to provide the best instruction they can unless forced to do so annually through rewards and punishments,” (2006, p. 264). State and national education policy development must consider the changing landscapes of life and work in the 21st century. Standards, as the International Society of Technology in Education have outlined, should include the specific skills that are needed within these changing landscapes ( Policy should be developed with acknowledgement of the context of which students are living, creating assessments that are for learning and not of learning. State and national assessments should include both formative and summative measures, more closely resembling what students will actually encounter in their future.


Burbules, N. C., Callister, T. A., & Taaffe, C. (2006). Beyond the Digital Divide. Technology and Education: Issues in Administration, Policy, and Applications in K12 Schools Advances in Educational Administration, 8, 85-99.

Christensen, C.M., Horn M.B., & Johnson C.W. (2008). Distrupting Class: How Distruptive Innovation will Change the Way the World Learns, McGraw Hill: New York.

Costello, P. & Johnston, P. (2006). Principles for literacy assessment. Reading Research Quarterly, 40, 2. 

International Society for Technology in Education-Standards in the digital age. Retrieved from


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Lessons from Atlanta Public Schools

Posted by tricialauter on July 19, 2011

A few weeks ago, widespread cheating on standardized tests among school officials and staff in Atlanta public schools was reported. The breaking story brought outrage and frustration. Overall, disappoint in the learning environments that have been taken hostage by increased high-stakes testing legislation permeated the Web 2.0 world.

As witnessed in the APS story, standardized assessments (with the negative consequences of failure) have created an atmosphere of competition that can be lethal to a child’s education. Within this atmosphere, teachers, administrators, and students are pressured to show improvement in learning discrete facts that do not reflect the multimodal, multiliterate, complex, and diverse world of which they live. Mary Kalantzis, Bill Cope, and Andrew Harvey (2003) describe in their article, “Assessing Multiliteracies and the New Basics,” the continued inadequecy of standardized measurements of assessments.

“Traditional assessment techniques are inadequete to measure the kind of skills and sensibilities required in the new economy…new assessment techniques means redefining what is meant by terms such as competence, ability, capacity, and intelligence (p. 24).”

Kalantzis et. al (2003) would argue that what is being assessed is far from what is needed in the lives and workplaces of today’s students. A leading organization in advocating for 21st century skills within education, Partnership for 21st Century Skills, provides guidance in what new assessments should look like.

“We must move from primarily measuring discrete knowledge to measuring students’ ability to think critically, examine problems, gather information, and make informed reasoned decisions while using technology (P21 e-paper, 2007).”

Though educational experts have called for reform within school assessment policy, change has been slow. It bears the question: Who really is in charge of reform? Though educators and administrators may understand learning better than 50 years ago, assessments have changed very little. Though educators and administrators may see the benefit of multiliteracies within the classroom, there is still pressure to “make the grade.” Not only are dishonesty and lack of integrity being witnessed by students in the APS, but students are also witnessing how learning, knowledge, and education are really valued.


Kalantzis, M., Cope, B., & Harvey, A. (2003). Assessing multiliteracies and the new basics. Assessments in Education, 10, 1, p. 15-26.

Partnership for 21st Century Skills. (2007). 21st century skills assessment: A Partnership for 21st century skills e-paper. Retrieved from:

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Skills for the 21st Century

Posted by tricialauter on July 2, 2011

Discussing multiliteracies ultimately leads to discussion of assessment and policy development. To consider what policies would be beneficial in supporting multiliteracy learning and pedagogy, essential questions must be addressed. Even before the tenants of multiliteracy are explored, the specific skills that are thought of as important in this day and age must be considered. As the New London Group (1996) supposes, “it may well be that we have to rethink what we are teaching, and in particular, what new learning needs literacy pedagogy might now address.”

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