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Decision Time: Pressure from “Higher Ups”

Decision Time: Pressure from “Higher Ups”
Martha Lund has been teaching second-graders at Horace Mann Elementary School for the past three years. During that period, Martha has become increasingly convinced that “developmentally appropriate instruction” is what she wants in her classroom. Developmentally appropriate instruction takes place when the instructional activities for children are not only matched with the typical developmental level of children in that grade but also matched with the particular developmental level of each child. Because of her growing commitment to developmental appropriateness, and its clear implications for individualized instruction, Martha’s students now no longer receive, in unison, the same kinds of massed practice drills in reading and mathematics Martha provided earlier in her career.
Having discovered what kinds of changes are taking place in Martha’s second grade,
however, the third-grade and fourth-grade teachers in her school have registered great concern over what they regard as less attention to academics, at least less attention of the traditional sort. Because state accountability tests are given to all third- and fourth-grade students each spring, Martha’s colleagues are afraid their students will not perform well on those tests because they will not be skilled at the end of the second grade.
A year or so earlier, when Martha was teaching her second grade in a fairly traditional manner, it was widely recognized that most of her students went on to the third grade with a solid mastery of reading and mathematics. Now, however, the school’s third- and fourth-grade teachers fear that “Horace Mann’s accountability scores may plummet.”
As Martha sees it, she has to decide whether to (1) revert to her former instructional
practices or (2) maintain her stress on developmentally appropriate instruction. In either case, she realizes that she has to try to justify her action to her colleagues.
If you were Martha Lund, write a letter address the following;

Decision to continue with developmentally appropriate instruction or to return to your former teaching methods.
The purpose of aligning curriculum, instruction, assessment, and its effects on teaching and learning
The influences of local assessment policies on your instruction methods decision.


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