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Matter Assignments

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.

That is why assignments matter.

That is why assignments matter.

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.

Assignments Matter defines the mission and work of Eleanor Dougherty, a consultant who focuses on the importance of assignments in effective instruction and curriculum. She is one of the original team that developed the LDC design concept and tools. She is the author of articles and other books on education, and in 2005, she published a book, Assignments Matter: Making the Connections That Help Students Meet Standards (ASCD 2005) detailing a process for guiding teachers through the thinking and practices that result in high quality assignments. Currently, she works with teachers, principals, and district administrators to develop coursework and district wide curricula focused on assignments in an effort to ensure equity and opportunity.


In 2009, she joined an effort funded by the Gates Foundation to develop tools that would help teachers align their practices to the new Common Core State Standards. Her work with assignments led to the design of the LDC templates and module tools. She has continued with that work, expanding it into the development of courses and curriculum maps. Eleanor has a long career in education as a teacher in K–12 and college systems and with education agencies, including the U.S. Department of Education and the Education Trust. Since 2004, she has worked as a consultant to foundations, non-profits, state agencies, districts, and schools. 


How Eleanor Dougherty Supports Implementation of LDC CoreTools

Assignments Matter serves as the foundational design principle of LDC CoreTools. Eleanor Dougherty collaborates with clients to implement LDC and other assignments and to use them as the focus of professional development. As well, she is working with districts to develop curriculum maps and courses that leverage LDC modules in order to create coherent and aligned curricular experiences for students and staff. She is also writing online courses to support teachers with LDC tools.


Experience with LDC

Eleanor is one of the original team that developed the LDC design concept and tools. She has continued to work with LDC partners to develop professional development venues and new tools. Eleanor has supported the implementation of LDC in several districts and schools since its debut in 2009, including Fresno, CA, Bridgeport, CT, New York, NY, and Lake County, FL.


Contact EdThink

To learn how EdThink can support your LDC implementation, contact Eleanor Dougherty at: 

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