Marion Mix Elementary School in the Elk Grove Unified School District implemented Visible Learning in 2015 to motivate students to advance and apply knowledge to the real world.
Visible Learning at Mix Elementary is based around learning intentions that teachers incorporate into every aspect of the curriculum taught. The learning intentions encourage students to ask, “What am I learning,” “Why is it important to learn this?” and “How do I know I learned it?” These questions get students focused on the purpose of their education and help them apply knowledge to real-life situations and these three learning intentions provide the common language that students will use to gain independence in self-assessing their knowledge and application. A success criteria is laid out for students to help them understand how they are doing throughout a particular lesson, not just at the end, giving students the ability to self-assess, which keeps them motivated to advance and achieve—that’s valuable.
The research-based curriculum in Visible Learning, provides staff and students at Mix with a common language to base instruction off of that follows students throughout each grade level at the school. Mix Elementary is proud of the way Visible Learning has affected the culture of the school and the ownership students and staff take in learning. Family and parent involvement is high at Mix, with hundreds of people from the community attending school events like Family Picnic Days, Glow Dance, STEM Night, and Movie Night. “On top of working with our teachers to provide high quality education, we are really working with our Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) to establish parent, community and student connections to bring parents onto campus in fun and engaging ways,” said Principal Peggy Barrad.
While Visible Learning provides students with foundational elements that can help them throughout their studies, it also provides support and clarity on grade-level standards for teachers. A Visible Learning Team that consists of representation from each grade level meets to disperse ideas and answer questions to make sure that Mix students are getting best practices incorporated into their education. Teachers also benefit from the clarity the receive on what they are teaching with Visible Learning, which helps them look at a standard and analyze how to break it down into curriculum to master that standard. These measures ensure that every teacher at Mix is very aware of how and what they are teaching their students.
The focus on learning intentions and success criteria since the school opened about four years ago make Mix Elementary unique. Now, the school is using feedback to move onto their next focus, which will look at what the best ways are for teachers to provide student feedback, how the students use that feedback to improve in the future and what measurements are best to provide and take in feedback.