Sunday, October 20, 2013

Marzano's, What works in Schools - Translating Research Into Action....Reflection

What do I think are “The Worst of Times” in education today:
                -standardized testing and just plain testing

                -so much responsibility on teachers to do and be everything for kids

                -reduced federal/state funding of schools

                -support from families – volunteering, etc… because life is moving so fast at home

                -student experiences/educational gaps – some come with so much/some come with

                -pressure and anxiety on students to be high achievers in order to go to college

                -people who refuse to change because they’ve ALWAYS done it a certain way

                -inability to let staff/administration go if they aren’t doing their job

                -lack of professional development when new initiatives are introduced

What do I think are “The Best of Times” in education today:

                -well prepared teachers coming out of college

                -advances in technology and integration into education

                -so much research being performed on best practices, curriculum , etc…

                -opportunities for students to go on to post-secondary education

                -Some testing- better identify students in need of targeted interventions…ability to know

Marzano starts off his article sharing what he sees as the worst of times over the last 60 years in education.  Much of what he shares focuses on how education does not affect a student’s achievement.  This was thought to be primarily due to the strong influence of a student’s home life.  Researchers wrote how failure in school was not the fault of schools at all.  At the turn of the century, new research was coming out that directly opposed these findings.  In fact, research began to show that students from all backgrounds could be very successful if the school was a highly effective school.  Excuses for why kids were failing were finally being exposed by new research.  Now, it is becoming well known that highly effective schools can have considerable impact on the growth and achievement of students regardless of their personal backgrounds.   This impact can be categorized into three general factors, 1) school-level factors, 2) teacher-level factors, and 3) student-level factors.  Looking at my above worst of time thoughts, most of them fit into once of the three areas, but they are all excuses as to why it is difficult being in education today.  They are not rooted in any kind of research, especially Marzano’s research.  According to Marzano, by having a highly effective school, none of my ideas play any part into student achievement.  My thoughts on the best of times can also fall into the three general factors for effective schools.  They are all based on the student, teacher, or school. 

I do agree with Marzano’s research that finds all students can be successful when being educated in a highly effective school.  I look forward to reading more about what characteristics these schools have in common.  I also see that my school and I need work on being more effective in educating students.  This year we went from being a reward school to a celebration school.  All three factors that affect student achievement need to be reflected upon for our school to gain back a reward status.  Are we strong in the five areas Marzano describes for schools?  Are we strong in the three areas for teachers? And how much do we use the three factors for students as excuses for not being a reward school?  I look forward to reading and reflecting more on the ideas that Marzano shares in his book.  I especially am interested in the interventions he mentions early in the first chapter.  Not only does the school I work at have some areas that need to be investigated, but I also have some learning to do in order for the school and my classroom to be a highly effective place to learn and grow. 


  1. Appreciated your reflection Beth. There's so much we can't control... and yet, there is a lot that we can indeed do, as individuals in our classrooms and as teacher leaders who can and do inspire systemic change. I hope our continued examination of Marzano's ideas always brings us back to what we CAN do and helps us decide what we WILL do!

  2. You are right Nancy....I seemed to get so caught up in wanting system change. I know I need to focus more on what I can do and especially within my classroom, which I have been doing but didn't write much about. I feel like I am truly turning into a different kind of educator since starting this program. I feel much more effective and confident in my interventions. I know they are researched based and good for kids. My planning has morphed into always asking "What is the enduring understanding?" and "What is my essential questions?" I am observing the students in a different way. I now keep in mind my gender research and how I can be a more understanding of the students' styles and biological make-up. My behavior management is much more effective since implementing my community building plan with the students. Recently I have been watching videos and reading about the 21st Century Learner and how to incoperate the 4 C's into my groups. Since I have been reading and researching, I now feel more able to research, learn, and integrate ideas from my learning into my classroom. This is not all of my changes but it is just some of the areas that have been impacted my teaching. My goal is and always will be to be a highly effective teacher. I have learned so much already but I have the rest of my life to continue to learn and grow. (which is why I love the Growth Mindset philosophy so much!!!)