Many schools struggle to provide learning equity for all students, especially high-risk students, even schools have spent a lot of money and time on professional development training and different programs. Their outcomes are unclear and not measurable.
As current classroom teachers, we can see why many of those programs fail to solve learning inequity problems. Through this article, our goal is not to identify the problems with those programs; rather, we will present a simple and measurable solution to provide learning equity with a Multi-tiered System of Support for all students by empowering teachers to provide student-centered learning.
Redefine to focus on individuality.
Many learning equity programs often focus too much on the demographic level with little specific focus at individual student level in the classroom.
It is easy to revise our schools, curriculum, and pedagogy to be inclusive, fair, and accessible for every student. However, the most difficult challenge is to support all students based on their individualized needs. The main function of school culture, curriculum, pedagogy is to serve as a fundamental framework for all staff to provide learning equity; however, it should not dictate how teachers support all students in their classes. For example, we create supporting classes to support specific groups of students; however, the teachers of those classes need to support student s at the student level based on each student’s needs. For example, some schools require all teachers through a department, or an entire school, to allow all students to retake any assessments, turn in any late work, and other accommodations. These types of individualized accommodations are designed to support each student based on a student’s specific needs through a Mult-tiers System of Support using data and evidence of a specific student’s learning outcomes. When support programs that do not fundamentally identify accommodations at schoolwide or departmentwide levels from a student level, the programs are set up to fail. Worst, it could intoxicate a school culture with distrust and hostility.
Now that we have emphasized the significant of providing accommodations at different levels, we will discuss our solution to provide effective and measurable support at students levels using Multi-tiers System of Support and evidence.
Provide Individualized Multi-tiers Intervention and Support.
Accepting late is not a question of sympathy or compassion; rather, it is a question of justification and time. For any teachers to accept and grade late work, they have to commit a lot of time, which we do not have, to collect, grade, update gradebook, and pass back work. This time exponentially increases as more students and assignments are added to a teacher’s responsibility.
Before school leaders ask any teachers to accept any late work, we need to (1) provide a tool and strategies to grade late work easily with little time. Secondly, we need to (2) enforce appropriate individualized accountability so that meaningful accommodations are provided when needed and appropriate. If we just allow any students to turn in late work at any time, we are disabling students to learn about responsibility and other essential skills.
Using our Learning Management System website and strategies, we can set up our practices so students get instant feedback, retry for partial credit, or re-attempt a practice to increase the average grade. If a student has specific needs or circumstances, teachers can manually delete any low-score attempts to improve a student’s averaged grades. Likewise, students’ grades are automatically updated on their online grade book. Through this process, appropriate accommodations are provided at a classwide level and individualized student level. Below is specific evidence of implementation.
Likewise, teachers can provide similar accommodations for formal assessments as well.
In conclusion, providing MTSS is not about collecting evidences of students’ mistakes to protect a teacher’s reputation or career; rather, it is mainly to provide immediate and meaningful support when we learn about our students’ mistakes.