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Using Year-end Standards to Build Competencies

Using Year-end Standards to Build Competencies

Author: Kathleen Johnson

Students understand that standards vary in their specificity. Students understand how to break a standard into parts to scaffold learning for students to achieve end of year mastery.

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Hello, ladies and gentlemen. I hope you're having a wonderful day today. Today, we're going to be looking at designing curriculum using year-end standards. And for today's lesson, I've chosen a quote by Michael Jordan which states "You have competition every day because you set such high standards for yourself." And that's what it's all about, having that high standard that we can follow through until the year end. Now, by the end of this lesson, you will be able to understand that standards vary in their specificity, and you'll be able to break a standard into parts to scaffold learning for students to really achieve that year-end mastery.

First, I'd like to go ahead and take a look at content standards. So content standards are really subject standards that are written to varying degrees of specificity. So not all content standards are the same in specificity as we look across contents. So for example, the World Language Standards tend to be written at a very high level, and so, really, it's up to the teacher to define out what should happen at each grade level based upon the major areas that the World Language Standards have, including communication, communities, culture, collaboration. It's really more teacher based in terms of what happens at each grade, as opposed to the Next Generation Science Standards, which are incredibly specific. They include the content, the topics, the practices, all of those integral elements that needed to be accomplished at each individual grade level, so it's a little more specific for you.

Also, it's important to remember that when standards are broader or more general, if they're written at the year-end level, it can be really beneficial to help break those standards down into much smaller chunks, things that are easier for students to access. That's what we call scaffolding different standards. And we're going to go ahead and take a look at breaking down or scaffolding those standards.

So first of all, most standards are written as year-end outcomes. So that means that it's written and defined by what the student should be able to do by the end of their given grade year. That's especially true for Common Core state standards. Also, it's important to know that a standard must be covered in varying depths to really help the student understand. In most incidences, students are going to need to understand it in a couple of different ways before they can demonstrate that solid mastery.

So now, let's go ahead and take a look at the process of scaffolding standards. First, you want to make sure you break down the standard that you have into manageable steps, especially determining what those smaller learning goals are going to be over the course of the course or the year that you have your students with. Next, it's really good to determine the best sequence. Make sure that you understand your students and the specific standard so you can line everything up in a way that's going to be best for them.

It's very important to know that all steps should be measurable. You do not want to make any steps that you can not measure or any learning goals that you can not measure because that will be difficult for you then to know whether or not a student has achieved mastery. Also, you want to make sure that you avoid creating steps that are too large or complex. It'll be difficult for students to really feel like they've mastered it and difficult for you to tell based on your certain assessments what they know and don't know.

Finally, it's important to know that those steps should really increasing complexity, building on the previous elements that were involved. You want to avoid it treating these learning goals like completely independent topics. Make sure that they really build on one another so that students are able to make those solid connections.

What I'd like to do now is take you through a couple of examples. So I'm going to identify a year-end standard from different subject areas and really talk you through how to take that standard and break it down, looking at the progression from the start of the year to the end of the year. So we're going to break it down into at least four different learning goals that students can achieve bit by bit throughout so that they meet that standard by the end of the year.

The first one we're going to look at is a foreign language standard, which states students should demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between the practices and the perspectives of the culture studied. So if we are going to look at scaffolding that standard or breaking it down, we might first say that students will research and demonstrate a basic understanding of modern-day Mexico if I'm going to take this as a focus in on that. But you could modify that to make it a very generalized understanding of modern-day culture in a foreign country.

Then, you would build on that. And then it would be students will demonstrate an understanding of the practices of Mexican culture. So again, we're looking at sort of the research and then the practices. Students will then demonstrate an understanding of the perspectives of those in Mexico, again, building on those elements.

And then, finally, bringing it all together-- the top of the staircase we've created-- is students will demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between the particular Mexican practices and the perspectives of Mexicans. So you can see how each one builds on the other and tell by the very end, we've combined it all together and reached that foreign language standard.

Let's take a look at this now in a little bit of a different light using the Common Core English/Language Arts Literacy Standards for 9th and 10th grade. One of these standards is that students should be able to cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly, as well as inferences drawn from the text. That is a mouthful. It is difficult enough as an adult to work your way through everything a student needs to know there, much less if you're in 9th or 10th grade. So let's work on scaffolding that standard out so we have a small, manageable chunks students can accomplish throughout the year.

First, students will demonstrate the ability to analyze what the text says explicitly. Are you able to see what the text says and analyze that for meaning? Then, students will demonstrate the ability to properly cite specific examples from the text. Getting that cited evidence helps to back up your analysis.

Then, students will demonstrate how to draw inferences from a particular text. Once they know how to find and properly document what is explicitly there, then they can start going and saying, well, what isn't explicitly written there but what inferences can I draw? What can I assume? And finally, students will properly cite specific textual evidence to support these inferences, all of it building on top of one another.

Now that you've reached the end of the lesson, you have been able to understand that standards vary in their specificity, and you've been able to break a standard into parts to scaffold that learning for the students so that they're able to really achieve that end of year mastery. Now that we've reached the end of our lesson today, I would like you to take just a moment to think about what are some of the steps you would take to scaffold a certain standard that you work with in your teaching?

As you reflect on how this new information can be applied, you might want to explore the additional resources section that accompanies this video presentation. This is where you will find links to resources chosen to help you deepen your learning and explore ways to apply your newly acquired skill set.

Notes on "Using Year-End Standards to Build Competencies"

(00:00-00:23) Intro

(00:24-00:38) Objectives

(00:39-01:54) Content Standards

(01:55-03:54) Scaffolding the Standards

(03:55-06:50) Examples of Scaffolding the Standards

(06:51-07:09) Review

(07:10-07:38) Reflection

Additional Resources

Complete Collection of PD Modules and Courses

These resources illustrate how to incorporate the CCSS in your instructional design and implementation. There are professional development courses for both Math and ELA. Courses can also be accessed through iTunes.

Achieve the Core: Dashboard

This is a collection of professional development courses that illustrate how to align your instruction to the standards. These courses are easy to follow and allow you to seamlessly implement the CCSS in your instruction.