As you work furiously and heroically to serve your students through the COVID-19 crisis, ELP offers this advice: Don’t forget about your graduate profile. Now’s the time to lean into it.
It doesn’t matter whether your performance assessment system is well established or just getting off the ground, whether you’re currently reaching your students through Zoom or printed worksheet packets. If your learning community has a graduate profile or similar set of learner outcomes, you should use that language to remind your students of their assets and to challenge them to grow. Most graduate profiles were designed to focus us on the skills students need to navigate a fast-changing world with an unpredictable future. Now we get to put them to the test.
Many graduate or learner profiles, for example, target a competency that has to do with being a “self-directed learner.” Let’s admit that it’s a concept more aspirational than operational. In most of our highly-structured learning environments, young people have very little opportunity to practice being self-directed. Guess what? Now they need it. And we need to teach it. So invoke the skill, express high expectations for students to develop the skill during this time, give them ideas for how to practice and demonstrate it, structure opportunities for them to reflect on it, and challenge them to document evidence of their growth. This goes for any skill that’s on your graduate profile.
Stay tuned. In coming weeks, ELP will continue to share suggestions for ways to leverage or advance the elements of your performance assessment system: the use of portfolios, running defenses of learning virtually, building a culture of revision and reflection. There are enormous opportunities in this crisis for students to practice and be assessed on the skills we say are important.
Justin Wells, ELP Executive Director