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August 14, 2009


Matt Townsley

A few more sacred cows to add (some go are related to your current list):

PLCs are the answer to helping struggling students
A unit is over once a test has been administered
Ever unit must end with a test
Tests are examples of "summative assessments" while quizzes are examples of "formative assessments"

Rob Jacobs

Matt, those are excellent sacred cows. Maybe I'll put together a new list with the suggestions. Thanks for sharing.


Timely and thorough. Just talked about many of these over lunch with @DrJackKing.

Here are two I'd add:

Traditional grading is fair and accurate.
Instructional decisions are dependent on educational policy.


here's mine:

Students should be grouped by age/grade level
Students should follow curriculum and not jump ahead

Todd I. Stark

In terms that I would use, this would be something like a brainstorming session on the problems of education, a kind of broad situation assessment.

With that perspective, I'd like to suggest that when people actually pick "sacred cows" to question that they stop calling them "sacred cows" because that frames each issue in a needlessly binary and divisive way ("is it sacred or isn't it?). Rather than invoking more useful analytical questions such as "who follows this, when and how do they follow this, why do they follow this, what good does it do them to follow this, what harm might it do for them to follow this, what are the alternatives that meet the same needs, what is the expected result of following different principles under the same conditions? etc."

Questioning assumptions means questioning the chains of reasoning around those assumptions, and their implications. Which should be more than just picking out which ones seem fashionable or unfashionable at the time.

The "sacred cows" slant seems to me to encourage us to choose fashionable ideas rather than to really understand what those principles give us.

kind regards,


Tami Thompson

I would add the sacred cow that all goals must be SMART goals.

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