EL Education and Student Achievement
EL Education promotes a multi-dimensional view of student achievement that includes: mastery of knowledge and skills, character, and high-quality work. These three dimensions of student achievement support the belief that when students become adults, they will not be judged by their test performance on basic skills but by the quality of their work and character.
Students’ mastery of knowledge and skills is demonstrated through their deep understanding of concepts and content tied to the Georgia Standards of Excellence, their ability to analyze, evaluate, and synthesize that content knowledge, and their ability to transfer that understanding to various tasks in the classroom. This dimension requires students to consider multiple perspectives and viewpoints in order to better build their knowledge and understanding of the world. Students must also be able to present their thinking in multiple ways; they construct these strong communication skills through formal and informal writing opportunities, conversations with one another, and formal presentations.
Character is a central goal of EL Education when it comes to student achievement. We want our students to become ethical and effective learners who work to become change agents and to make the world a better place. EL Education’s Habits of Scholarship foster students’ character development in the areas of perseverance, craftsmanship and collaboration. Additionally, students and teachers use EL’s Ten Design Principles to guide their growth and development. While character education isn’t unique to EL Education, the process by which students cultivate these habits and Design Principles is. Through rigorous academics and authentic experiences and reflection time, students develop the necessary skills to be successful communicators and collaborators, as well as, active listeners later in life.
High-quality student work is the third dimension of student achievement, and, it is the result of developing students’ character in conjunction with their mastery of knowledge and skills. High-quality student work demonstrates complexity, craftsmanship, and authenticity. Complex work is rigorous and aligned with grade-level standards. It includes higher-order thinking skills, connects to big concepts, requires consideration of multiple perspectives, and it allows students to transfer their understanding of concepts/skills to new contexts. Craftsmanship is a key ingredient in high-quality student work. Students produce work that is beautiful in both conception and execution. So not only does the work look beautiful, but the thought process in creating that work is equally essential. Work that reflects craftsmanship typically requires multiple drafts and/or critiques from others. Lastly, high-quality work is authentic work. It demonstrates the original, creative thinking of students, connects the standards to real world issues, and ideally matters to students and the larger community.