Looking at Student Work
Looking at Student Work

Who We Are

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The Collaborative

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."