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Using Year-end Standards to Build Competencies

Using Year-end Standards to Build Competencies

Author: Jody Waltman

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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In this tutorial, you'll learn how to break down your year-end standards into more manageable pieces that will help you to design your curriculum. We'll begin with an overview of the content standards and we'll talk about the process of breaking those standards down. Finally, we'll look at some specific examples. Let's get started.

It's important to realize that content standards are written with the varying degrees of specificity. For example, the World Language Standards are written at a very general level and each individual teacher needs to define specifically what their students are going to know and be able to do in the areas of communication, cultures, connections, comparisons, and communities.

In contrast, the Next Generation Science Standards are written at a very specific level. They include all of the contents, topics, and practices that are going to be accomplished by students at each grade level.

Here's another example that contrasts the different writing styles in the standards. This Common Core Literacy Standard is very specific, whereas the World Language Communication Standard is quite vague. When standards are written in a broader or more general form, especially when they're simply written at the year-end level, it definitely can be beneficial to break them down into more manageable pieces.

So how can we accomplish this process of breaking the standards down into smaller chunks? Since most standards specify end-of-year outcomes for students, as is the case with the Common Core State Standards, it's important to realize that mastery often requires varying depths of standard coverage. So teachers need to be able to break these standards into more manageable chunks in order to help students make the necessary progressions.

To do this you should identify smaller learning goals that span the course of the year. It's up to you to determine the appropriate sequence and scaffolding of these smaller pieces. And be sure to focus on measurable components. You can accomplish this by making sure that you use observable verbs from Bloom's Taxonomy.

For example, we can't measure whether students understand linear equations. But we can measure whether students can graph a linear equation or whether they can solve a system of two linear equations. The pieces should be small enough that you can easily track and measure student achievement. And the goals or components should increase in complexity as students make progress towards the end outcomes.

Likewise, as students progress, they should be making connections and building on previous topics. Remember, you always need to be focusing on those measurable components. Every time you create a smaller piece of a standard, try to use one of the action verbs from Bloom's Taxonomy.

Instead of saying students will know or students will understand, instead ask students to interpret, identify, or explain, for example. Let's see what this process might look like. Here is a Common Core Literacy Standard for grade five. Use common, grade-appropriate Greek and Latin affixes and roots as clues to the meaning of a word.

For example, photograph and photosynthesis. We might break this standard down into the following smaller pieces-- students will identify and give examples of Greek affixes. Students will identify and give examples of Latin affixes. Students will predict the meanings of words with Greek affixes and roots. And students will predict the meanings of words with the Latin affixes and roots.

Here's another example from the math Common Core standards for high school geometry. Identify and describe relationships among inscribed angles, radii, and chords. This standard includes the lot of skills. So let's pinpoint some of them.

Students will identify and name the radii in a circle. Students will identify and name chords in a circle. Students will identify and name central angles in a circle. Students will determine the measure of a central angle in a circle using the measure of the intercepted arc. Students will identify and name inscribed angles in a circle. And students will determine the measure of an inscribed angle in a circle using the measure of the intercepted arc. These learning goals build on one another. There's a logical progression throughout.

In this tutorial, you learned how to break year-end standards down into smaller, more manageable chunks. We began with an overview of content standards and looked at the process of breaking those standards down. And finally I shared a few specific examples.

Here's a chance for you to stop and reflect. Select a content standard from your content area. Practice writing a series of learning goals that outline the progression that students should make as they work towards meeting that standard. For more information on how to apply what you learned in this video, please view the additional resources section that accompanies this video presentation. The additional resources section includes hyperlinks useful for applications of the course material, including a brief description of each resource. Thanks for watching. Have a great day.

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

(00:00 - 00:20) Introduction

(00:21 - 01:18) Content Standards

(01:19 - 02:52) Breaking Standards Down

(02:53 - 04:16) Examples

(04:17 - 04:32) Review

(04:33 - 05:07) Stop and Reflect

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.