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STANDARDS Aligning Schools around State Standards Dr. Ronald S. Thomas rathomas@towson.edu 410-704-5770 Center for Leadership in Education at Towson University. Introducing . Dr. Ronald S. Thomas Associate Director

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STANDARDS Aligning Schools around State StandardsDr. Ronald S. Thomasrathomas@towson.edu 410-704-5770 Center for Leadership in Education at Towson University

slide2

Introducing

Dr. Ronald S. Thomas

Associate Director

Center for Leadership in Education

Towson University

Former Assistant Superintendent for Educational Accountability

Baltimore County, Maryland, Public Schools

slide3

The Big Picture

In this session, you will learn how several components of curriculum, instruction, and assessment can be aligned around state content standards.

slide4

Standards

What Is

Alignment?

Assuring that all components of the school converge to support students learning the state’s content standards at a high level

slide5

Shifting the Focus to the Standards

“Standards have created a kind of vacuum. In the main, this vacuum is being filled by tests – obsessions about tests, preparation for tests, and fears of test results.

So long as teachers are ambivalent toward standards and passive about them as a catalyst to improve instruction, tests and accountability will fill the vacuum….”

Hayes Mizell

Edna McConnell Clark Foundation

slide6

Shifting the Focus to the Standards

“This does not have to be the case. When teachers take action by using standards to focus on improving their performance and that of their students, they shift the focus from testing to learning, from accountability to responsibility, and from obligation to opportunity.”

Hayes Mizell

Edna McConnell Clark Foundation

ASCD Education Update, January 2002

slide7

A Pause to Chat

Talk with a colleague or two around you:

What are the implications of these ideas

for you?

slide8

The Most Essential Question in a Standards-Based School

  • What are the characteristics of
  • the curriculum, instructional
  • strategies, and assessments
  • (CIA) at our school that
  • contribute to our student
  • achievement results?
slide9

It is Essential Because . . .

  • The most important influence on
  • student
  • learning:
  • Is what is happening daily in classrooms
slide10

Building the Capacity of Staff to Align around the Standards

Educators need to:

  • Understand the curriculum indicators and objectives
  • Teach to the indicators and objectives
  • Assess the indicators and objectives with the

same content, format, and rigor as the important

assessments

  • Monitor individual student progress in relation

to the indicators and objectives

  • Target intervention programs to the indicators and objectives on which students are not succeeding
slide11

What Does It Mean to “Understand” the Curriculum Standards?

When educators “understand” the curriculum indicators and objectives, they can“unpack” or “unwrap” them and will know exactly the specific knowledge and skills students need to learn in their grade or course.

slide12

Standards may need to be “unpacked” because of the way they evolved.

1983: A Nation at Risk

1989: Six National Educational Goals

(Expanded to 8 goals in 1994)

Early 1990s: Subject matter standards from virtually every subject matter organization

Mid 1990s: 49 of 50 states developed standards, independent of each other

2001: Assessments must be linked to standards for NCLB test

www.MCREL.org

slide13

Maryland Voluntary State Curriculum (Grades PreK-8)

Standards

Indicators

Objectives

(with Assessment Limits)

slide14

High School Standards

Core Learning Goals

Expectations

Indicators

(With Assessment Limits)

slide15

Unpacking State Standards

To unpack standards, indicators, or objectives means to identify the knowledge and skills embedded in them.

“Unpacking content standards is a proven technique to help educators identify from the full text of indicators and objectives exactly what they need to teach their students. ‘Unpacked’ standards provide clarity as to what students must know and be able to do.”

- Ainsworth (2003)

slide16

Unpacking State Standards

  • This is important so that we can:
  • Identify the prerequisite knowledge and skills that might stand in the way of learning.
  • Know what to re-teach when students don’t learn.
slide17

Unpacking State Standards

  • What does this indicator/objective mean?
  • How can it be written in “student friendly” language?
  • What knowledge and skills are “embedded” in it?
slide18

Example of Unpacking

Indicator: Collect, organize, and display data.

Objective: Collect data by conducting surveys to answer a question.

Objective: Organize and display data in double bar graphs.

Assessment Limit: No more than 20 data points and

whole numbers (0-100)

slide19

Unpacking State Standards

How could you write this indicator

and objective

in language that

a student would

understand?

How would you “unpack” it to

identify the embedded knowledge and skills?

slide20

But can the students master all the VCS indicators and objectives?

Maryland’s Reading, Writing and Language VSC

slide21

A National Perspective

  • A problem is that we have too many standards.
  • MCREL analyzed 116 standards documents from across the country. They found that, when all subjects are counted, there are an average of:
  • 200 different standards, broken into
  • 3,093 specific topics (often called benchmarks or indicators) in these documents.
  • MCREL estimated it would take about 5 hours of instruction for students to learn most indicators.
  • Needed: Total of 15,500 hours
  • Marzano and Kendall, “Awash in a Sea of Standards” (1998)
slide22

Students can’t learn all the standards at a high level. We must prioritize.

In the most optimistic scenario, schools

currently have less than 10,000 hours of

instruction over 13 years.

Therefore, to teach and reinforce

all the benchmarks, we would

need to increase schooling

to 20-21 years, instead of 13,

if time each year is not increased.

Marzano and Kendall, “Awash in a Sea of Standards” (1998)

slide23

How do we prioritize?

Douglas Reeves

talks about the

concept of

“Power

Standards.”

In Maryland, we would call them “Power Indicators or Objectives.”

slide24

What Does It Mean to“Teach to” the Curriculum Standards?

First, this means that educators focus instruction on the indicators and objectives that are:

  • Assessed on national, state, and district assessments in which achievement data indicate students are weak
  • Most needed by students for success in future grades and in life (have endurance)
  • Most useful in more than one academic discipline (have leverage).
slide25

How to Begin to Identify the Power Indicators

  • Arrange for two faculty conversations about reading or math.
  • First, teams ask teams from the grade above them, “Using the criteria, what indicators and objectives should we be sure our students know by the end of this year?”
  • Then, teams meet with teams from the grade below them and list for them (using the criteria) the indicators and objectives that students should be sure to know when they get them next year.
slide26

What Does It Mean to“Teach to” the Curriculum Standards?

Second, this means that all students are taught grade-level work every day.

12 Content standards

8 Assignment level

1

1 8 12

slide27

The Instructional Gap

The difference between the rigor of the state content standards and the rigor of student classroom assignments

Average Assignment Level Gap

Grade 1: 0.9 - .1

Grade 3: 2.7 - .3

Grade 5: 3.9 - 1.1

Grade 8: 5.8 - 2.2

Grade 12: 7.8 - 4.2

Curriculum Calibration Study by DataWork Educational Research of 192,252 assignments from 174 schools in 62 school districts

slide28

Why is teaching on grade-level important?

  • Students can perform no higher than the assignments they are given.
  • State tests assess grade-level content.
  • Students cannot learn what they are not taught.
  • All students learn more when taught at a higher level than at a lower level.
slide29

How can you know if your instruction is not on grade level?

Analyze the verbs in the indicators and objectives.

Be sure that you are asking your students to demonstrate these skills at the level called for.

slide30

Aligning Instruction with VSC Grade-level Objectives

For example, when indicators and objectives call for students to analyze, this means assignments should ask students to examine a reading closely, study it, pull the material apart, and find its sub-parts or components in order to understand it better.

Terms in blue in the VSC are hot-linked to their definitions on www.mdk12.org.

slide32

What Does It Mean to “Assess” the Curriculum Standards?

When educators “assess” the curriculum

standards, they align the content, format, and grading rigor of their classroom assessments with the expectations of the indicators and objectives and with sample questions from the important assessments.

slide33

Alignment of Assessment Content withCurriculum Standards

When teachers “assess” the curriculum standards, they center the content of their classroom assessments on the objectives from the VSC with assessment limits.

slide34

Alignment of Assessment Format withCurriculum Standards

When teachers “assess” the curriculum

standards, they use in some of their class assessments the same format and routines as the most important assessments so that students become familiar with responding in these ways and within strict time frames.

slide35

Why is classroom assessment alignment important to analyze?

Pedulla (2001) found that:

  • About 80% of 12,000 teachers from 47 states reported that they felt pressure from their principals to raise student scores on state tests.
  • But, only 50% of these same teachers reported using the content and format of the state tests in their everyday classroom assessments.
slide36

Alignment of Assessment Rigor with Curriculum Standards

When teachers “assess” the curriculum

standards, they grade their classroom assessments with the same level of rigor as that used by the state in grading the tests.

slide37

To Align the Rigor of Classroom Assessments with the Rigor Expectedby the State:

Use the state rubric to score

sample papers from the state

web site and compare your

scores with scores given

by the state’s scorers.

slide38

Which aspects of your classroom assessments need the most work to align them with the state assessments?

  • Content? What have you done?
  • Format? What are your next
  • Rigor? steps?
slide39

What Does It Mean to “Monitor Individual Student Progress in Relation to” the Curriculum Standards?

When educators monitor individual student progress in relation to the curriculum standards, they can identify the indicators and objectives that individual members of their class have mastered and the indicators and objectives they need to work on more.

slide40

If We Tracked Student Progress on Power Indicators?

What would grade

books look like?What would report

cards look like?

Brainstorm with a colleague.

slide41

To “Monitor Individual Student Progress in Relation to” the Curriculum Standards:

Go to:

www.mdk12.org/data/course/m4w2/pr2

for data collection templates that enable educators to generate Excel spreadsheets on which they can track student progress on the VSC indicators and objectives that they identify.

slide42

Going to that site on the web will enable you to access the Voluntary State Curriculum.

Voluntary State Curriculum

English Language Arts 1087654321KPK Mathematics 87654321KPK

Science  87654321KPK

Social Studies  87654321KPK

Click on the subject and grade you want.

slide43

You will then go directly to the VSC.

Reading, Grade 3Please check the objectives you would like to include in the grade book.

Determine important ideas and messages in informational text

  • Identify and explain the author's/text's purpose and intended audience (MSA)
  • Identify and explain the author's opinion (MSA)
  • State and support main ideas and messages (MSA)
  • Summarize the text or a portion of text (MSA)
  • Identify and explain information not related to the main idea (MSA)
  • Identify and explain relationships between and among ideas (MSA) (MSA) indicates the item is assessed on the Maryland State Assessment.Generate worksheet
slide44

The site will generate an EXCEL spreadsheet.

Determine important ideas and messages in informational text

  • Identify and explain the author's/text's purpose and intended audience (MSA)
slide45

What are the drivers and barriers in your school to tracking student progress

on Power Indicators?

What could you do to overcome the barriers and put in place in your school this year a process of tracking student progress on a few Power Indicators?

slide46

What Does It Mean to “Intervene” with Students Not Succeeding on the Curriculum Standards?

When educators intervene with students not succeeding on the curriculum

standards, they focus their academic assistance on the specific indicators and objectives students need help on and vary the assistance based on individual needs.

slide47

Additional Alignment Questions

  • Do expectations increase as students move up the grades and take more advanced courses?
  • Are expectations consistent from teacher to teacher in a school and school to school in a region and district?

Why is each of these questions important?

slide48

Zero to Five

  • 0:“I am opposed to this and will not do it.”
  • 1: Not Planned : “This is not on my radar screen.”
  • 2: Planned but Not Implemented: “I know about
  • it but do it only occasionally.”
  • 3: Implemented a Little: “I am really trying to do
  • this on a regular basis.”
  • 4: Implemented a Great Deal:“I am pretty good
  • at this but know that I have more to learn.”
  • 5: Fully Implemented:“I am an expert at this.”
slide49

Apply “Zero to Five” to Each of These in Terms of Your Academic Area of Interest

Do you:

  • Understand the state indicators and objectives?
  • Teach to the indicators and objectives?
  • Assess the indicators and objectives with the same content, format, and rigor as the MSA/HSA?
  • Monitor individual student progress in relation

to the indicators and objectives?

  • Target intervention programs to the indicators and objectives on which students are not succeeding?
slide50

Say, “Goodbye” to

your “weakest

link.”

How could this

knowledge guide you

as you plan your

grade level and vertical team meetings this year?