As educators do we need to change our own expectations of student achievement
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Based on Generating Expectations for Student Achievement (GESA). As educators, do we need to change our own expectations of student achievement?. 18.7%+ (Math) ESL, predominantly Hispanic and Asian 7.4%+ (Reading) Asian and Pacific Islanders 7.0%+ (Math) overall 2.1%+ (Reading) overall.

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As educators, do we need to change our own expectations of student achievement?

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Based on Generating Expectations for Student Achievement (GESA)

As educators, do we need to change our own expectations of student achievement?

18.7%+ (Math) ESL, predominantly Hispanic and Asian

7.4%+ (Reading) Asian and Pacific Islanders

7.0%+ (Math) overall

2.1%+ (Reading) overall

While the CTBS increases are only a snapshot in time, the greater, but unmeasurable gains may be in a student’s perceptions that they are a capable individual.

Standardized test scores in reading and math (CTBS) show these gains attributed classes with GESA-trained teachers:

There are 5 groupings of classroom practices that can convey positive expectations to students.(The full GESA model includes peer and self-observation exercises.)

  • Response Opportunities, Acknowledgement & Feedback

  • Wait Time & Physical Closeness

  •  Touching & Reproof

  • Listening & Probing

  • Higher Level Questioning & Analytical Feedback

1.Response Opportunities, Acknowledgement & Feedback

Troubling observation* Students who are ignored or asked only easy questions by teachers don’t have a chance to develop their intellectual skills…

During a formal validation study for GESA, pre-observations indicated that African-American and Hispanic-American males were interacted with at a rate of 27% less than their class representation.

Let students answer questions:

Teacher calls on students

Teacher accepts volunteer responses

Cooperative group assignment includes “forced” individual responses

Let students present assignments in a variety of ways:



Peer tutoring

Group presentations

Multi-medi` Example: (Math, history, social science` Example: (Math, history, social science)

How can teachers provide acknowledgementand feedback for students?(Students need feedback, and the feedback needs to relate to academic goals)

Teacher tells student something about the quality of their responses,

Individually at the student’s work station

In the full classroom session

At the teacher’s desk

Within the Cooperative Group

The teacher may say:

“Good, you found all the Asian Nobel Peace Prize recipients, Lee.”

Your discussion about finding percentages was both creative and correct, Lee and Maria.

I saw you computing the final percentage and you left out left one of the groups out. To get the right answer, you will need to go back and fix that, Abe.

How can teachers give appropriate feedback?(To convey high expectations, feedback must relate to academic work, not behavior, appearance, etc.)

2. Wait Time & Physical Closeness

  • How can teachers provide wait time for student responses?(Responses are related to academic goals, not personal questions. Wait time allows students to relax, process information and respond.)

  • 5-7 Second Rule (It’s the ideal time to convey your high expectations of students): count it out silently when waiting as though you expect a correct reply.

  • Look at the student initially, but do not fix your eyes upon him/her.

  • 5-7 second rule can be used in any circumstance—except on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?

Alarming observation*: The average time that a teacher waits for a student to responds to a question is 2.6 seconds, but for low achieving students the average was .9 seconds.

1.Within an arm’s length Rule:To qualify for appropriate closeness, the teacher should be within the teacher’s arm’s length to the student and making a connection with the student. (Just walking on by doesn’t count).

2.Move around the room to make contact.

4.Sit in on cooperative groups. (Once you have gone around to each cooperative group, you have usually established physical closeness with all students).

How can teachers provide appropriate physical closeness?(There many ways the teacher can re-orient their proximity to students as well as initiate appropriate touching—where permitted.)

3. For lectures, use a laser pointer in order to stay mobile.

3. Touching & Reproof

However, if a class is focusing on job search techniques, the teacher might try to convince the student that hand-shaking will be expected during the interview process and provide appropriate instruction.

How can teachers provide appropriate touching?

In today’s Global Economy/Society and with heightened sexual harassment awareness, touching is a complicated matter. Hand-shaking is generally considered acceptable, but if someone backs off, let it go.

Touching can be achieved by lightly tapping a student on the back of their shoulder just before asking a question or when giving feedback.

Touching may also be appropriate when it is associated with specific academic or career technical education (vocational) assignments.

Math problem on a calculator—gentle tap to the back of hand.



  • Soldering—gentle tap to the back of hand or forearm, when finished.

  • Computer work—gentle tap on back of shoulder.

  • Avoid just about all other areas of body contact! If in doubt, don’t touch.

Appropriate reproof is assertive, objective and lacks emotion on the part of the teacher.

It addresses the behavior offense, not the student him/herself. It relates the wrongdoing to an established legal issue, policy or rule.

The teacher’s body language is relaxed. (Opening the jaw slightly helps keep the face from looking stressed.).

Alarming observations*:The cost of bias is expensive for males and minorities: they are twice as likely as girls to be suspended, expelled or referred to special education classes


How can teachers provide appropriate reproof or disapproval for inappropriate behavior?


J.J, please make comments only related to the assignment in math class today.


Beth, stay on the web sites listed on the assignment handout.


How can teachers provide appropriate reproof or disapproval for inappropriate behavior?

Positive action statements, such as those used in behavior “coaching” may change the behavior and give the student a good example to remember.

The action may be non-verbal, for example, standing next to the student may immediately stop the behavior, which may be all that is needed.

4. Listening & Probing

  • Listening to another is the highest order of conveying our esteem to that person.

  • Listening and giving appropriate feedback are covered within items 1 and 2.

  • When listening to learn about a student’s background and what may motivate the student, be careful to not leap past “listening” into “clarifying,” “problem-solving,” etc. Simply experiencing a student’s expression style has value.

How can teachers listen so that high expectations are conveyed?


How can teachers listen so that high expectations are conveyed?

  • Additionally, attention to the student’s message can be conveyed by body language and gestures. Avoid the appearance of impatience for a student to finish speaking. If necessary, acknowledge the importance of what he/she was saying and ask to pick up on the conversation again later.


Research revealed*: Some Southeast Asian students find it hard to offer personal opinions because the teacher is perceived to be their superior… Some Vietnamese students may not admit to not understanding. Their traditional education has been teacher-centered.

How can teachers probe students so that high expectations are conveyed?

Probing conveys that the teacher believes that additional time spent in expanding the student’s exposure to the learning process is a worthwhile, and therefore the student must be worthwhile.

  • The teacher may:

  • Ask the student to “tell us [or me] more about this” in a friendly way

  • Remind the student how he/she has already addressed a portion of this lesson


  • Ask a group to discuss the assignment or answer in greater detail—perhaps their rephrasing will be better than mine [the teacher]

  • Give clues

  • Refer back to principles, theorems, flow-chart, etc.

  • Remind the student of their learning style strengths in solving dilemmas

  • Refer back through thinking steps

5. Higher Level Questioning & Analytical Feedback

  • How can teachers encourage higher level thinking from students? (Review several quizzes and classroom tests—don’t be surprised if most questions are from the lowest level Level 1, Knowledge: Define of the cognitive domain.)

  •  Give students questions, assignments, group projects, etc. that lead them through concrete steps to the top of the Cognitive Domain.


6. Evaluation: Appraise

5. Synthesis: Invent

4. Analysis: Categorize

3. Application: Perform

2. Comprehension: Describe

1. Knowledge: Define

QuestioningLevel 1—Knowledge: Define

  • Recognizes and recalls facts and specifics.

  • Example: “Name the categories of Nobel Prizes and gender and nationality of recipients.”

QuestioningLevel 2—Comprehension: Describe

  • Interprets, translates, summarizes, or paraphrases given information.

  • Example: “Describe the gender and nationality distribution of Nobel Prizes globally in a full page report?”

QuestioningLevel 3—Application: Perform

  • Uses information in a situation different from original learning context.

  • Example: “Prepare a pie chart depicting the gender and nationality distribution of Nobel Prize recipients.”

QuestioningLevel 4—Analysis: Categorize

  • Separates whole into its parts, until relationship among elements is clear.

  • Example: “Based on the Nobel Prize committee’s criteria, give a two minute report on how the selected recipient most likely met the committee’s criteria.”

QuestioningLevel 5—Synthesis: Invent

  • Combines elements to form a new entity from the original one.

  • “Create your own Nobel Prize category and fully define at least five criteria for a successful recipient.”

QuestioningLevel 6—Evaluation: Appraise

  • Involves acts of decision-making, judging, or selecting based on criteria and rational.

  • “Rate the nominees for the class’s “Nobel” prize and give a convincing report on your findings for your first choice.”

Analytical Feedback

  • How can teachers provide meaningful analytical feedback?(Analytical feedback reflects upon an organized lesson.)

  • Analytical feedback:

  • Restates the thinking process

  • Points out where errors occur

  • Allows students to meet with peers for more in-depth analysis

  • Praises students for appropriate use of academic technique

  • Allows positive peer critique

  • Reinforces the student’s upward growth on the Cognitive Domain(There are some similarities to 3. Feedback above.)

Startling observation*: The majority of praise given to males is for their academic work. While females receive some praise related to academic ability, they may be praised for neatness and effort instead and then not given corrective analytical feedback.


1. *Generating expectations for Student Achievement (GESA): An Equitable Approach in Educational Excellence, Delores A. Grayson, Ph.D. and Mary D. Martin, Ed.D.Teacher Handbook @ $38, Participant Booklet @ 15

2. Connections Across Cultures: Inviting Multiple Perspectives into Classrooms of Science, Technology, Math, and Engineering. Pac-Tec Project Mission College MS21, Santa Clara (1996). Supported by the National Science Foundation

3.David Sadker, American University, Equity Web SiteDavid and the late Myra Sadker began the nationally acclaimed American Association of University Women (AAUW) research on the disparity of education for girls in the classroom, which is still true. The Sadkers continued their research and found equally as troubling discoveries about different areas of disparity for boys in the classroom. Published reports, such as Gender Equity in Schools: A Primer, may be downloaded. To view how boys and girls suffer because of sex bias in society and in education, see the Primer’s section, Report Card: The Costs of Gender Bias. Also see, Classroom Tips for Non-Sexist, Non-Racist Teaching, Web site:

Related Resources:

Intercultural Press, Inc.The site offers books, simulations, and other training materials about crossing cultures. Many of the books are appropriate for use in career technical education classes and for guided independent study. Some of the materials contain very specific information such as how to not offend people of a specified cultural and how the social stage must be set to create positive business relationships with various cultures. There are resources on specific nationalities such as Japanese, Mexicans, Arabs, and many more. There are extensive resources on communication patterns and how they impact personal, business and education relationships. New books are added each year.Web site:

Related Resources: (10/26/02) adapted from Myra and David Sadker’s, Teachers, Schools and Society ( McGraw Hill, 2003)

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