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The room was buzzing with the energy of September, although it was late spring. For two days, more than 100 educators came together in Baltimore at our Equity In Motion convening to dig deep into the anatomy of challenging, engaging assignments, to re-energize their practice, and to take their assignments — and their students — to new heights.

Beneath the sexy work of sweeping legislation — of passionate speeches by big names extolling the power of education to elevate — is the real, deep, daily, “unsexy” work of classroom practice and day-to-day instruction. The teaching and assignments that draw students in to school and their own learning.

Or don’t.

Assignments in and of themselves don’t change kids’ lives, but the compilation of assignments signal to young people what educators think they are capable of, what teachers’ expectations of them are, and what their commitment to ensuring kids meet those expectations is.

Just ask students.

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That is why assignments matter.

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That is why assignments matter.

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That is why assignments matter.

Every day, with every assignment educators give their students, they are sending messages about what they believe about their students and what they are capable of doing. Educators need to make sure those messages are the ones they intend.

Click here for more on Ed Trust’s assignment analysis work.

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