One of the most effective tools to improve classroom instruction has been the “best practices.” These are teaching-learning methods that have been identified by researchers to result in the most effective learner outcomes. Dozens of books and articles have been published (see Bibliography of Supporting Research) to encourage teachers to adopt these practices. The EdFOCUS team has assembled the most notable of these “practices” into a user-friendly list or taxonomy. In addition, they have developed training to help every school make these “best practices” an integral part of its deep-culture and daily operation. Click here to go to the EdFOCUS Taxonomy of “Best Practices.”
EdFOCUS has developed a research-based planning format to help teachers organize the delivery and assessment of classroom instruction using techniques from the “best practices” research. Click here to go to the EdFOCUS format for “Unit Planning.”
The EdFOCUS approach to Differentiation is to help schools provide different teaching-learning activities appropriate to the various learning needs of individual students. The idea is to keep all students involved with the “general” education units and not offer them an alternate curriculum—whether they are struggling or capable of advanced work. The EdFOCUS approach is to establish the classroom as a community involving all of the students and not to “pull any out” except for students who are severely disabled and require a self-contained class. This approach is also consistent with that of the RTI Process, adopted by many states. Level I and II RTI calls for the classroom teacher and the Special Needs teachers to function as “co-teachers” with each helping all students, irrespective of whether they are “identified” as Special Ed. Click here to go to the Differentiation and RTI page.
The EdFOCUS team provides training in how to develop valid, standards-based test items—both multiple choice and extended response. With the evolving technologies in testing, it is important that teachers develop classroom test items that are parallel to those found on the high-stakes tests. The EdFOCUS training includes numerous content area and grade level samples to help teachers in constructing these traditional tests. In addition, EdFOCUS provides training in Authentic or Performance Assessments, including examples developed by teachers for use in actual classrooms. Click here to go to the Classroom Assessments page.