HIGH QUALITY WORK
...developing in students an ethic of quality: complexity, craftsmanship and authenticity
What Is High Quality Work?
The ability to create work of value and quality is a high ideal at REALMS. To accomplish this, we work to instill in students a desire to create quality work and an ability to identify what "quality work" looks and sounds like. We use the following three descriptors to help students understand and strive for quality work: complexity, craftsmanship, and authenticity.
For us, high quality work is complex, and should demonstrate critical or higher order thinking as well as the ability to transfer knowledge and understanding. Second, quality work must demonstrate craftsmanship through accuracy and beauty in both conception and execution. And finally, quality work must be, in some way, authentic. By authenticity, we mean that the work should demonstrate the original thinking, voice, or passion of the student, it should demonstrate some connection to real-world issues, and maybe, most of all, it should have some purpose and audience beyond the bulletin board in the hallway or refrigerator door at home.
At REALMS, we have always emphasized quality work. However, in the last few years we have begun to be increasingly more thoughtful about what that means. We have broadened our definition of high quality work and improved how we involve all students in high quality instruction that supports their growth towards high quality work! Since the spring of 2014 our faculty has been completing Quality Work Protocols to review both the short and long task work that students from each grade complete. The claims below tell the story of our students' ability to create high quality work.
A word about craftsmanship: In each claim below we share evidence in the form of final student projects or tasks that are often the culmination of several weeks or even months of focused study. These final products are typically near the bottom of the evidence page, and are preceded by some of the evidence of learning that helped students arrive at the final product. The final products demonstrate a real commitment to complexity and rigor, but also to craftsmanship. You will see evidence of the kind precision, beauty and and accuracy that can only be accomplished with determination and significant revision. This is what we mean by craftsmanship. Examples of this kind of craftsmanship can be seen in the calendar and biography booklet our 7th grade students put together as a part of their Warm Springs study (claim 1), 8th grade students' IPP Projects (claim 2 - capstone), and in several of the Tumalo Creek student products (claim 3).
Claim 3 - Authenticity:
Every year, all students apply their deep understanding of content to real world issues and then complete authentic work that holds meaning and value beyond the school community.
Claim 2 - Research:
All students are able to conduct a remarkable piece of original student research in the form of a capstone 8th grade independent project. Students understand that this project is a rite of passage to show readiness for high school.
Claim 1 - Complexity:
All students at REALMS create complex work that demonstrates higher-order thinking skills, deep understanding of multiple perspectives on an issue, and the ability to transfer understanding from one context to another.