Avant Newsletter - December 2017
Monday, December 11, 2017 by David Bong
Greetings from rainy Eugene.
In this newsletter we are releasing our 2017 STAMP National Averages Report. This year we are adding an article by Kyle Ennis and Carl Falsgraf that provides an analysis of the data. They address two long standing and burning questions in the field:
Read the article and find the answers the data have given them.
We were very pleased by the enthusiastic response at the ACTFL conference to our introduction of the Avant ADVANCE tool for training teachers in the Proficiency Standards. If you missed the news about ADVANCE, read about it here.
It is late in the year and a very busy time for all of you, so I will keep my message mercifully short this time.
Best wishes for a happy holiday season to you all.
We need to get close and sit quietly to discover its secrets. And we must be good listeners. If we show up with a headful of opinions and assumptions, we might miss subtle truths and glorious surprises.
As a service to the field, Avant has released its annual report on STAMP test results from 2016-17. The proficiency ratings in this report represent the best national snapshot we have of student performance. Some of these stories are familiar, but others have surprise endings. Let’s start with two common beliefs about language learning and see what the STAMP data can tell us.
Art Fry was so frustrated, he almost said a bad word in church.
Every time he opened his hymnal, his bookmarks fluttered to the floor. Then he remembered that one of his colleagues at 3M had recently concocted a strange glue that wasn’t very sticky. He applied some of it to scraps of paper and, lo and behold, his bookmarks stayed in place. When 3M secretaries got ahold of the little papers, they started sticking them on memos, folders, and cubicle walls. Today, 3M sells about 50 billion Post-Its each year.
Avant VP for Education and Assessment Kyle Ennis wasn’t in church when his “Aha!” moment came. He was in New Jersey. “Supervisors there were telling me that teachers moonlighting as STAMP raters were doing amazing things in the classroom. They thought we must be giving them methodology workshops or something. In reality, they just went through RaterConnection, our online rater training and certification system and began scoring student responses with detailed criteria.”
He remembered how developing and implementing standards-based assessments as a Japanese teacher in the 1990s had transformed his classroom. He had heard others say that OPI Training had changed them as teachers. Perhaps, thought Ennis, the process that creates accurate raters can create great teachers.