This association of individuals
and educational organizations that focus on looking at student work grew
out of a meeting on "Examining Student Work and School Change" held in
Chicago in October 1998, hosted by the Chicago Learning Collaborative
and the Annenberg Institute
for School Reform.
Thinking about the nature of this collaborative and the importance of its work, Steve Seidel (Harvard Project Zero) wrote:
"It is a study group of people deeply involved
in using processes for the careful and close examination of student
work. That we have different purposes at the heart of our methods
is not necessarily a problem. There is a focus on the intersection of
these methods for looking at student work and explicit school reform
efforts. To be sure, everyone involved longs to see improvement in our
public schools. At the same time, there are real differences in how
folks see the role of these practices in that larger effort. Examining
student work, no matter how well done, does not constitute an adequate
model of school reform.
This study group focuses on the nature of these processes. The idea is to bring a certain expertise in these processes to local folks working with them in the context of their own reform and professional development work.
The development of various methods of examining student work is a very positive development in professional educational practice and the life of schools. It is incredibly important to pay close attention to the philosophical foundations of those practices: articulate them, examine them, discuss them, refine
them as we reconsider the practices themselves. This is not a
totally abstract conversation. It is an examination of the philosophical
foundations of the practices as set firmly in the stuff of the practices
themselves - why they are constructed in the ways they are, the moves made,
the assumptions grounding them, the beliefs guiding them, the
understandings informing their facilitation.
Those of us who care deeply about the integrity of these practices have a responsibility for examining them in theory and
practice as best we can. This certainly means coming together at some
point and this group is a setting for that conversation to make public our ideas, concerns and questions about the use of these methods."