Superintendent's Blog: Be the Best Version of You
I was recently in a classroom where students were working on their data folders. As the students received their latest result and were charting those scores, one student noted that he was “ten points away from being distinguished”. His teacher noted that that score was really close, and asked him to think about what he might do before next test time to boost that score.
This small conversation captures two important features of how data folders help our students be the best version of themselves. First, this process puts students in charge of their own learning. As they take the tests, they begin to see and talk about how they can improve. Second, as they see their progress, students move from having a fixed mindset to having a growth mindset.
As I’ve mentioned before, some of our students come to us with a fixed mindset. They believe that intelligence is a fixed trait. School for them is about judgment and performance. If schoolwork is difficult or challenging, they conclude that they are struggling because they are not "smart" and give up when they fail at a task because they think they are not good at school.
Other students have a growth mindset. They believe that intelligence is not fixed, but can be developed. For them school can be an exciting place because it gives them the chance to learn and grow. These students enjoy challenges and respond to failure by working harder or by trying different strategies.
The data folder process helps each and every student see that they can grow. It helps them see that setbacks are not permanent. They begin to understand that what matters is their own incremental progress over time.
We believe this process captures our goal for our students: we want them to be the best version of themselves, whatever that looks like.