Opening Keynote CUE 2009 Palm Springs


My very rough notes:

I’ve tried to clean them up, if there are typos or errors, let me know so I can fix them…

Friday March 6, 2009
Robert Marzano

He has a new software package for formative assessment and standards-based learning
called Pinnacle that they have left flyers for on our seats.

Here is the “pre-speaker” business:
– CUE has added a Southern Nevada affiliate of CUE this year. CUE is now an iNACOL affiliate.
– Elluminate sessions will be sent from one of the conference rooms
– Ah…they just thanked me for the mobile site in front of the WHOLE audience of at least a thousand. SURPRISE!
– Going through board nominees, One chick on the ballot, hmmm.
– State Senator Tom Torlakson is in the audience.
– Giving out awards to folks who have helped at CUE. My favorite quote, “A child not engaged is a child not learning”–Scott Smith Gold Award winner.
– ARGHHH! They are doing outstanding teacher awards, and my affiliate didn’t have anyone. I had wanted to apply for that, but there was a deadline mix-up. NEXT YEAR AS GOD IS MY WITNESS!

Torlakson is predicting 11 bil more in shortfalls in next round of budget, we need taxes to bridge the gap. Audience is tuning out, including me, but this is critical for how we operate. This is a really sad statement on our priorities. What do we think we’re beyond being concerned about money?

Bob Marzano appears…

He’s starting to look into effects of technology on achievement. He came to it because he was doing research on instructional methodology and saw the handwriting on the wall, and saw potential for tech in formative assessment and teacher feedback and intervention.
His research was based on Promethean (85+85 classrooms-one groups of 85 was control). Pre and post assessment, Uncorrected gains were 14 percentiles (effect .37) They corrected for the vagaries for the test had 17 percentile gain and ES of .44. This is significant, most “effective”  gets 6 percentile gain, but there is wide variety, so if you do a study on a  program, or instructional method, if you do a bunch of studies, some will show no effect,  worse effect, and some positive effect, so any study needs to be put in context.
The longer teachers had been teaching the mo eeffective their use was. The longer they used it, the more effective they were. The effect of the amount of time used was different. The mid rand using 75-80% had the most gains, but it dropped if you used it 100% of the time (my thought–maybe too much direct instruction?). Best case: Experienced teacher, who has been using the tech for 2 years, who uses it about 75% of time, and is well trained and confident in it’s use. This should lead to a 30 percentile point gain in average student achievement. You can’t just give it to teachers and expect results. 23% of teachers did better without the technology than with it, that is not unusual (usually 35%).

Conclusions: Weaker teacher require PD in effective teaching and proper use of IWB technology. Focus on content not bells and whistles (can be a distractor), keeping track of students getting it (response rates) maybe easier to miss with tech. Checks for understanding/questioning can work ag. Learning. You call on one, the others tune out. Wait time, pair share, hand voting, white board votes, response systems. These need to be doing more than just voting (discuss the wrong choice and why).

Feedback and assessment
Right/wrong feedback (decreases achievement)
Provide correct answer (increase 8.5 percentile)
Criteria understood by student (16 point)
Explain (20 point)
Student reassessed until correct (20 point)
It becomes more effective as it becomes more of a social interaction
Display results graphically
Evaluation by a rule they know what 65% means (32 points)

You can’t rely on one assessment method/tool. Overall tests maybe be accurate, but subscores can be very inaccurate. Formative assessment is better for an individual than summative which becomes more inaccurate in subscores as the n is smaller.

Rubrics for students on tracking their own learning with graphs, etc. So 29-33 percentile point gains from using these (he is pushing his product from Excelsior), I’m missing some stuff from this, sorry. Okay, it’s a reporting system, but the assessment tools are probably the most important, and I’m not getting as great a sense of that.

My thoughts…

My site is looking into interactive white board technology specifically to improve direct instruction, and Dr. Marzano has been mentioned in the staff room with favor as an authority. This pre-disposed me to favor his presentation, but…I’m a little uncomfortable with studies paid for by the manufacturer, and pushing an assessment/reporting tool that he’s had a hand in creating. Dr. Marzano had cautions, but here are the ones I have:

* Can the gains shown be sustained?
* There evidence that you can over-use this tool. My own sense is that you would want to be at 50-75% of the time using it for direct instruction, and to make sure there is active participation for students in that time.
* It looks like the tool is only as good as the teacher using it, so my question is, will this create enough gains over time to justify the expense?

A fellow conference goer was concerned about the amount of professional development time that would be necessary to make use of the tool effective, which was 80 hours. I’m not sure if that was for EVERYONE, or the teachers who needed to work more on basic delivery of instruction techniques in addition to learning how to use the interactive white board. She thought this was excessive, and principals would never approve. I pointed out that 40 hours was the standard amount of PD for state institutes after a text book adoption (with additional hours for a larger stipend) through the school year, that comes up to something close to that. We already do it for books, I don’t think it’s too much to do it for IWB technology. In fact, I think we need to factor in that amount of PD for implementing technology in the classroom. If we want tech to be used well, and to be integrated into the core curriculum, we need to make sure there is a plan for PD, and we shouldn’t low-ball it.

The slides were really old school white on blue with Arial font.


Well, Marzano is one person I’ve heard mentioned by non-techie types (like the reading specialist at my site), so the fact that he is favoring interactive white board technology and student response systems should give that technology a chachet like no one else. Folks into project-based learning, and open source will not like this talk as much. If I had to pick two opposites it would be this session, and Thornburg’s session on Constructionism, just based on the differences between open source Thornburg favors vs. IWBs, some of the most expensive tech you can buy for a classroom.


I really don’t feel comfortable giving “link love” to these folks yet. Sorry!

by posted under conferences, reflection | 3 Comments »    
3 Comments to

“Opening Keynote CUE 2009 Palm Springs”

  1. March 14th, 2009 at 7:50 am      Reply Mathew Needleman Says:

    I understood your summary better than the keynote. (Of course I was mentally preparing my own sessions which started son after). But anyway, most people I talked to had the same concerns about a company sponsoring and presenting its own research and also were not that impressed with the keynote in terms of presentation skills. It wasn’t a speech that left you inspired and I passed that feedback on to a couple of board members.

    Hope to see you on stage next year for teacher of the year.

    • March 14th, 2009 at 10:34 am      Reply alicemercer Says:

      The most troubling thing for me was that here is an educator that most of my staff know, and he’s pushing the most expensive piece of technology you can buy for improving instruction. I was counting on having his word to bolster the case for technology, and I got was could be construed as a commercial for Promethean (he was careful to add caveats). This wasn’t what I was hoping to take back to my staff. OTOH, I don’t know how much of Thornburg will resonate with them? I’ll figure it out eventually.

      Re: the teacher award, ah, I’m not counting on getting state, but the affiliate level is obviously wide open, lol.

  2. April 28th, 2009 at 6:54 pm      Reply Ms. Edwards Says:

    I’ve read a bit if this information before. Marzano’s previous work is excellent, although as with most things, one’s local application must fit the needs of the school. I also had expected a more global look at technology rather than simply IWB and voting. You still can only hold the kids’ attention for so long with an IWB. Project/problem-based learning engages students better — and technology enhances, deepens, and extends the exploring, solving, and creating of solutions. Thanks for the update.


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