Most students’ mastery of standards is measured during state testing periods, but as teachers we need to be aware of students’ progress toward standards long before that time. In my case, my students will not be taking a standardized test to measure their mastery of the standards, so practicing standards-based assessment (HOPE principle P3) is even more critical. In order to ensure our students are meeting the goals that have been set for their grade level, we must both align our teaching to those standards and adequately measure students’ developing mastery of that skill or ability. Finding appropriate ways to measure their progress is critical. Thankfully, the widespread adoption of Common Core State Standards allow teachers from across many states to share evaluative resources. A quick Google search of the standard to be assessed can bring multiple pages of options for ways to assess students’ progress.
Our math curriculum, My Math, is useful in that it links every lesson (Image 1) and quick check (exit ticket) (Image 2) to a standard, then breaks down the post-assessment by which problems assess which standard. In literacy, assessments are broken down into each component that addresses a standard. For example, a research paragraph can measure multiple writing standards as well as some language standards, so each applicable component will be given a score measuring progress toward mastery. This allows us to key in on each standard that is being measured and appropriately track students’ understanding in each area. This also allows us to see which areas still require more data in order to better represent the students’ knowledge. Going back and revisiting standards introduced previously allows us the ability to measure student retention of concepts, as well. Students benefit from this data collection in that we have sufficient information on which standards most students have mastered and which ones should be revisited or retaught in order to improve student understanding.
O1 – Offer an organized curriculum aligned to standards and outcomes. To me, this standard means to plan based on goals as opposed to plan based on activities. Throughout the coursework, we have been told about the importance of communicating goals to students. A learning goal is “a statement of what students will know or be able to do” (Marzano, 2007, Location 205). We sometimes refer to these as learning targets, which is more specific to an individual lesson. The activity in which the importance of having and communicating these goals was solidified was in creating a lesson plan. In Introduction to Teaching (EDU 6918), as well as in other classes, we were asked to create a lesson plan starting with the standards and learning targets, as shown in Figure 1.
While this strategy was initially difficult, it became evident that having a clear goal was critical to having an organized curriculum, and that identifying the target can benefit students as well. As Jim Knight said, “When students understand what they are supposed to learn, the chances are much higher that they will actually learn it” (2012, Location 914). In order to make sure I give a clear target at which the students are supposed to aim, I plan on continuing to focus on what I want the students to learn before I focus on how they will learn it.
Knight, J. (2012). High impact instruction. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.
Marzano, R. J. (2007). The art and science of teaching. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.