I grew up with the original Star Wars movies (numbers 4-6). I was a Han Solo guy more than a Luke Skywalker guy – but regardless Yoda was awesome. Something that was impressed upon me throughout life, and summarized miraculously by Yoda was do or do not, there is no try. I couldn’t agree more, and I use that guiding principle in my instruction. At the time, I didn’t understand the message, but as I grew and continued to watch the movie, the message took on meaning. Anyone can try to do well and most do. But somewhere along the line, there is a reason, an obstacle, or an excuse as to why they did not succeed. The same is true of students – but the try doesn’t matter. You remember the failures and successes; you remember the wins and losses.
What the quality standard of instruction does is create an umbrella that guides whatever instructional best practices you use in your class, building, and/or district. Setting a quality standard of assessment changes the emphasis of a classroom in a number of ways; many of which you can read about on the other posts. But what I find, it assesses for learning, not a grade. Students succeed or fail, and then we teach the “try.” The students revisit the content, and after I am comfortable with their increased knowledge base, we reassess. The student earns the grade that reflects their knowledge – the grade is and should always be a reflection of knowledge.
For many educators it has always seemed that we tell the students you need to try, but let them do or do not part of Yoda’s thought entirely arbitrary, and what seems like a process that does not reflect learning. After a grade has dropped, we offer extra credit, notebook checks, and a variety of grades that do not assess learning. Implementing a quality standard of instruction – teaches students how to try, causes everyone to succeed through learning, and eliminates failure, because we never stop doing.