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Article Critique: How Good Is Good Enough? Luke R. Dreiling Cornerstone University

ARTICLE CRITIQUE Summary of Article In the article How Good Is Good Enough? the author, Grant Wiggins,

encourages teachers to teach the heart of a subjects content in an authentic way in which the level of classroom performance aligns with Common Core standards. Grant begins the article by answering the simple question, what is mastery? He then addresses the hazards of breaking apart standards into isolated microstandards, which often turns standards into a checklist, undermining the authenticity of mastery. Next, the author proposes a definition of mastery that disturbs many of the current perceptions of what mastery means. The author then questions how high the bar should be to accomplish mastery, suggesting that low grading standards on the local level are causing a wide gap between local and national tests scores and the abundant necessity for remedial classes in college. The author concludes by differentiating between performance standards and content standards, encouraging teachers to measure their performance standards in a way to help close the gap between national and local test scores to better reflect the mastery that is achieved through teaching by the national Common Core standards. Critical Response The article seems to suggest three different issuesI see the first two helping students to master content, but the third seems to hurt teachers and students more than help them. The first issue exams the need to transfer authentic knowledge, fluency, and understanding of content to achieve mastery of a particular subject to the student. The second issue discusses the relevance of paralleling local standards with national standards to ensure a lower gap between local and national test scores. I dont agree with the third issue that the author closes with, which connects the first two issues in an unrealistic way


by stating, mastery must be addressed locally by overhauling the quality of local grading and testing to calibrate them with wider-world standards. This is unsettling because the author is suggesting the teacher to change his or her standards to abide by certain national standards in order to properly transfer mastery to the students. The author contradicts this statement earlier in the article in his definition of mastery, defining mastery as an authentic understanding in key performance challenges and contexts at the heart of a subject. Wider-world standards do not necessarily equal mastery in my opinion. In my classroom, I want my students to demonstrate their mastery of a subject through experiencing, creating, and using authentic tasks and scenarios at the heart of doing the subject similar to what was mentioned in the article. Through the eyes of a future educator, I view Common Core standards as a great way to collectively hold teachers accountable for their methods of teaching and evaluations in the classroom. Common Core standards are an efficient way to measure the success of a nation, but I believe the roots of mastery are scotched when efficiency in the evaluation process overrides authentic understanding. I feel that setting specific national standards is more limiting for classroom teachers than promoting mastery of the content because teachers become more focused on equipping all the students to perform well on national tests instead of focusing on the transfer of genuine understanding of information to help achieve full mastery of the content. The article helped uncover some of the misconceptions I had about evaluating my students. At the beginning of the article the author posed the question, What level of performance is high enough to say our goal has been mastered? and I responded, When the students are ready for the next set of material Duh. However the article taught me

ARTICLE CRITIQUE that the checklist approach towards evaluation and the focus on mastery of microstandards actually limits opportunities for students to master the heart of the

subject. The author even goes so far to say that this practice is immoral, pointing out that many great achievers may simply not be good at worksheets and quizzes, but excel in areas of that subject which contain more worth. Considering this information on mastery, my standards for teaching become more oriented towards an abstract learning processes. To utilize the ideas about local standards expressed in the article, I can intergrade national Common Core standards into my classroom and still maintain an environment designed for personal mastery by combining two evaluation methods. One method I will use is the traditional letter grade system to evaluate my students mastery reflected by the Common Core standards. This gives me freedom to measure how well I believe the student has mastered the content by pulling from how I personally observe the students level of mastery, which extends beyond a test score. The other method I will use is to give an exam similar to national exams at three different times throughout the year beginning, middle, and end. This standard-based evaluation method will show me which performance standards need improvement and also close the gap between local and national standardized test scores. I may find it difficult to implement both these evaluation methods depending on my schools policy for grading and how my students respond to the evaluations, so I must be sensitive to those factors and ready to tweak my evaluation methods. From this article, I determined that it is becoming more difficult for teachers to transfer authentic mastery of knowledge to students while also working under the pressure to have their students mastery of content evaluated through national standardized tests. Regardless, a quality educator will know how to transfer that mastery.

ARTICLE CRITIQUE References Wiggins, G. (2014). How good is good enough?. Educational Leadership, 71(4), 10-16.