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The Power of Learning Targets Transform Learning in the Classroom. Ken Mattingly Rockcastle County Middle School Stephanie Harmon Rockcastle County High School Representing PIMSER K-12 Outreach. Group Norms. Start and end on time Put cell phones on silent Be respectful of all comments

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the power of learning targets transform learning in the classroom
The Power of Learning TargetsTransform Learning in the Classroom

Ken Mattingly

Rockcastle County Middle School

Stephanie Harmon

Rockcastle County High School

Representing PIMSER K-12 Outreach

group norms
Group Norms
  • Start and end on time
  • Put cell phones on silent
  • Be respectful of all comments
  • Everyone participates
  • Exercise the rule of “two feet”
  • You may not agree with me

…and I’m okay with that!

who s in the room
Who’s in the Room

Please stand for the role that best

represents your current position:

  • Classroom Teacher
  • Resource Teachers (curriculum coaches, academic specialists, etc.)
  • Building level administrators
  • District level administrators
  • Others
our roadmap for today
Our Roadmap for Today

Implications of Senate Bill 1

Stephanie’s Journey

Where have we been?

Where are we going?

Preparing for Day 2

Ken’s Journey



Things I want to remember

How will this impact my classroom/school district?

why are we here
Why are we here?

Questions you have about Learning Targets

why are we here7
Why are we here?
  • Senate Bill One—March 2009

KRS 158.6453

    • (4) (a) The assessment program to be implemented in the 2011-2012 academic year shall be composed of annual student assessments and state and local program reviews and audits in selected content areas.
      • (b) The state student assessments may include formative and summative data…….
    • (8) Local school districts may select and use commercial interim or formative assessments of develop and use their own formative assessments to provide data on how well their students are growing toward mastery of KY academic core content. Nothing in this section precludes teachers from using ongoing teacher-developed formative processes.
what does senate bill 1 mean for the classroom
What Does Senate Bill 1 mean for the Classroom?
  • A shift in how assessment is used
    • Formative & Summative
  • Becoming assessment literate
    • SB1 requires that KDE provide professional development programs that support assessment literacy
point of view
Point of View

Senate Bill 1 defines what it means to be assessment literate and the types of assessments that should be included in instruction. Explain what assessment means from the viewpoint of an administrator, a teacher and a student.

point of view10
Point of View

Table Share

Pair & Share

sb 1 talking points
SB 1 Talking Points
  • Assessment Literacy
  • How assessments are defined/described
balanced assessment
Balanced Assessment
  • What does it look like?
  • How is it developed?
  • Assessment for Learning vs. Assessment of Learning
targets assessments grading

Targets, Assessments, & Grading

What do I do with targets after I have them?

Ken Mattingly

B.A. – University of Kentucky

M.A. – Eastern Kentucky University

National Certification in Early Adolescent Science

my job
My Job…
  • To show you the process I have taken to incorporate Classroom Assessment for Student Learning into my classroom practices.
  • To give examples of how I used it to sharpen my focus on what my students learn, how they learn it, and how they are assessed.
  • To show you how I have taken CASL and transformed the way I assess my students and report their successes and shortcomings.
i will do that by
I will do that by…
  • Sharing a year-by-year synopsis of my progress.
  • Introducing you to ways of linking targets to activities and summative assessments.
  • Sharing examples of formative and summative assessments that focus on learning targets.
  • Presenting a method for using targets as the structure for a standards-based grading scale.
  • Sharing examples of student opportunities to demonstrate target mastery that allows them to take ownership of their learning.
rockcastle county middle school
Rockcastle County Middle School
  • 625 students grade 6-8
  • 2 teams per grade level
  • 70% Free and reduced lunch
  • 2007 AI – 95, 2008 AI – 98, 2009 AI – 105
  • Science P+D%:
    • 2007: 70
    • 2008: 73
    • 2009: 84
classroom assessment for student learning
Classroom Assessment for Student Learning
  • Assessment of Learning
    • Summative, documents individual or group achievement, occurs after learning, sorts students into groups, primary motivator is threat of punishment or promise of rewards
  • Assessment for Learning
    • Formative, promotes increase in achievement, occurs during learning, help teachers diagnose and respond to student needs, primary motivator is the belief that success in learning is achievable.
          • Classroom Assessment for Learning, p. 33
what are targets really
What are targets, really?
  • Statements of intended learning.
  • The building blocks for student attainment of the standards.
  • Principal driver of classroom instructional decisions.
  • The framework for classroom assessment practices.
year one in the beginning

Year One: In the beginning

The Long and Winding Road

what do we want to assess
What do we want to assess?
  • Start with the end in mind.
    • What do we want students to know and do?
    • Sources :Common Core Standards, POS, CCD, not CCA
  • Turn those documents into manageable chunks of information
    • Take standard and break into the learning pieces that when put together form the scaffolding for performance of the standard (Deconstruction)
    • Knowledge, Reasonings, Skills, Products
  • These are the pieces that give your instruction direction and you want to assess
side note on deconstruction
Side Note on Deconstruction
  • Taking standards and deconstructing them is hard and time consuming.
  • Decisions often have to be made on what is essential learning.
  • There will be differences of opinion on how standards break out.
  • Put the book away when deconstructing
  • Don’t let this step frustrate you and keep you from implementing AFL.

Learning/Achievement Targets

Statements of what we want students to learn and be able to do.

student friendly learning target example
Student Friendly Learning Target Example
  • Standard: SC-07-4.6.2 Students will:
    • describe the transfer and/or transformations of energy which occur in examples that involve several different forms of energy (e.g., heat, electrical, light, motion of objects and chemical).
    • Explain, qualitatively or quantitatively, that heat lost by hot object equals the heat gained by cold object.
student friendly learning target example26
Student Friendly Learning Target Example
  • I can give examples of energy.
  • I can give examples of energy transfer. That means when energy is moved from one object to another.
  • I can give examples of energy transformations. That means when energy is changed from one form to another form.
  • I can describe the exchange of energy between hot objects and cold objects.
impacting my classroom
Impacting My Classroom?
  • Formulated targets for a unit.
  • Put those targets on the bulletin board.
  • Read them to the students the first day of the unit.
  • Never referred to them again.
so what was the benefit
So What Was The Benefit?
  • I had to examine my standards in greater depth.
  • I learned what I needed to learn about my content.
  • I was more aware of the specifics I wanted my students to know.
  • My students had at least a casual exposure to what they needed to learn.
working group discussion
Working Group Discussion
  • How would developing learning targets change the instructional environment in your school?
  • What challenges do you foresee with developing learning targets?
year two implementing targets

Year Two: Implementing Targets

Now We’re Getting Somewhere

Students who can identify what they are learning significantly outscore those who cannot.
  • Robert Marzano
clear student friendly targets
Clear, Student-friendly Targets
  • Turn knowledge, skill, reasoning, and product pieces into “I can” target statements.
  • Targets should use student-friendly language.
  • Targets should be attainable.
  • Provide clear, stationary targets for students to aim at and they will hit them.
  • Give students a copy of learning targets for the unit.
using targets for post assessment development
Using Targets for Post-Assessment Development
  • Matching the assessment method to the type of target.
  • Determining adequate sampling size.
  • Assessment format considerations: open response vs. multiple-choice, time constraints
  • Quality of questions, information value of incorrect answers
working group discussion34
Working Group Discussion
  • How do you determine the questions that are on your assessments?
  • What is the benefit, if any, for common summative assessments?
  • How would you have to prepare your faculty for this process?
year three

Year Three

Targets as the driving force of instruction.

using targets for pre assessment development
Using Targets for Pre-Assessment Development
  • Targets can easily be turned into questions for a pre-assessment to see where students are at the beginning of a unit.
  • Develop questions that give students an indication of what they are to learn.
  • Pre-assessment as feedback throughout unit.
linking lessons to targets
Linking Lessons to Targets
  • Each learning experience should be explicitly linked to a target.
  • Students are introduced to the target at the beginning and ending of the experience.
  • Each learning experience is evaluated for its effectiveness at moving students toward mastery of the target.
year four

Year Four

How can I identify problems before it’s too late?

how do i know my instruction is good
How do I know my instruction is “good”?
  • The students seem to enjoy the activities?
  • I think they understand it?
  • When I get back their unit test results?
  • When the state test scores arrive?
  • By the number of parent compliments or complaints?
  • What my peers/administrator say about me?
formative assessments
Formative Assessments
  • Assessments conducted during learning to promote, not merely judge or grade, student success
  • Provide information to teacher and student on student performance.
  • Supplies opportunities to make mid-course corrections to learning experiences.
research on feedback
Research on Feedback
  • Quality of feedback matters. Specifically descriptive ,criterion-based feedback is better than numerical scoring or letter grades.
  • Emphasis on the importance of learning leads to greater learning vs. looking good or being compared to others.
  • Descriptive feedback that focuses on strengths and weaknesses is most effective
          • Classroom Assessment for Learning, p. 40
my philosophy on formative assessments
My Philosophy on Formative Assessments
  • FA does not count as a grade
  • Feedback is generally descriptive or otherwise informs on attainment of mastery
  • Blanks, I don’t knows, IDC’s, etc. are unacceptable (You have to develop a classroom culture of this)
  • Returned to students and compared to “good work” to inform them of where they are
  • Followed by a discussion of how to close the gap to mastery
working group discussion43
Working Group Discussion
  • What are your thoughts on not grading formative assessments?
  • How would your classroom have to change in order to incorporate it?
  • As a learner, what makes you feel an assignment is worth doing?
year five

Year Five

Into the Grading Abyss

summative feedback
Summative Feedback
  • Before using targets: score 65%
    • Student knows what questions they got right/wrong
    • Kept the score and went on, maybe reviewed, but still went on
    • No diagnosis of problems and ways to address them – perhaps taking a test again but no plan as to what to focus on
    • No idea on student or teacher’s part of strengths and weaknesses
summative feedback46
Summative Feedback
  • After using targets: score 65%
    • Get results broken out by target
    • Students know what they do well and what they need to work on
    • Students have opportunities to work on identified targets and gain understanding before trying again to show mastery
    • Diagnostic tool to show strengths and weaknesses by student and class
re testing
  • Students have received summative assessment results by target
  • Identify targets needing improvement
  • Work on target practice in preparation for re-testing
  • Re-test only over identified targets
  • Evaluate results, rinse, and repeat!
summary of targets and assessments
Summary of Targets and Assessments
  • Learning targets form the backbone of instruction and assessment program
  • LT allow for focused development of pre- and post-assessments
  • LT give clear direction to selection and development of instructional activities
  • LT provide students with clear learning goals and a format for organized feedback on their performance
my take home message
My Take Home Message
  • Learning targets inform students and teachers specifically what the learning intention is
  • They can be used as a basis for instructional design and assessment formulation
  • Formative and summative assessments should provide feedback to all parties on how to improve understanding
  • Students should be given multiple opportunities to develop and show mastery of learning targets
  • Standards-based grading gives students the chance take ownership of their performance
the teacher i was
The Teacher I Was . . .

Stephanie Harmon

Rockcastle County High School

BS – Cumberland College

MS – Eastern Kentucky University

Rank I – Union College

“If you grade it, then they will do it.”

The grade should be enough motivation to

get the student to complete the work.

ready set change
Ready, Set, Change
  • Deconstructing Standards
  • Learning Targets based on Standards
  • Reviewed Units of Study
  • Assessments
  • My attitude about grading
  • Teaching is more deliberate
year one power of the learning target
Year One –Power of the Learning Target
  • Why I began Deconstructing Standards
  • What I learned from it
  • The Power of the Learning Target
Deconstructing standards is NOT about myteaching; it’s about what the STUDENT needs.
  • It IS HARD but worth every moment – once I realized the depth of the standards my teaching became more focused.
deconstruction of standards
Deconstruction of Standards

Combined Curriculum Document

Classroom Assessment for

Student Learning (CASL)

clear learning targets
Clear Learning Targets

“Making targets clear to students at the outset of learning is the fundamental underpinning to any assessment for learning practices we will implement.”

  • Rick Stiggins, Classroom Assessment for Student Learning, p. 59.
clear learning targets57
Clear Learning Targets
  • Know what kinds of targets are represented in the curriculum
  • Know which targets each assessment measures
  • Communicate the learning targets in advance in student-friendly language
chemical concepts unit
Chemical Concepts Unit


Students will classify or make generalizations about elements from data of observed patterns in atomic structure and/or position on the periodic table.

The periodic table is a consequence of the repeating pattern of outermost electrons. DOK 2

  • SC-H-STM-S-1Students will classify samples of matter from everyday life as being elements, compounds, or mixtures.
  • SC-H-STM-U-1
  • Students will understand that the configuration of atoms in a molecule determines the molecule’s properties. Shapes are particularly important in how molecules interact with others. (stop at shape – personal note)
  • SC-H-STM-U-4
  • Students will understand that not all atoms of an element are truly identical. Some may vary in their number of neutrons (isotopes) or electrons (ions). These variations result in properties which are different than the more common forms of that element
learning targets
Learning Targets

I will group elements based on certain properties.

I will determine if a sample is an element, compound or mixture.

I will determine the number of protons, neutrons and electrons in an element.

I will compare/contrast periodic tables ordered by atomic mass vs. atomic number.

learning targets in daily instruction
Daily Agenda (what the student sees/uses)


I will determine if a sample

is an element, compound or


Review criteria for

element, compound or


- Sorting Samples

- Quick Write: Describe the method you used for sorting the samples into the categories (element, compound, mixture).

Learning Targets in Daily Instruction
year two learning climate
Year TwoLearning Climate
  • Would I want to be a student in my classroom?
  • Controlled Chaos
learning climate
Ranking Activity


Other Instructional


Learning Climate
my results
My Results


  • #1 - Display effective and efficient classroom management (e.g., in facilitating cooperative groups, in safe and appropriate use of equipment or hands-on materials) that includes classroom routines that promote comfort, order and appropriate student behaviors.


  • #1 - Create an environment where student work is valued, appreciated and used as a learning tool, including the sharing of results from student scientific investigations.
Learning Climate:  a safe environment supported by the teacher in which high, clear expectations and positive relationships are fostered; active learning is promoted

URL for Characteristics of Highly Effective Teaching & Learning:

controlled chaos
Controlled Chaos

Students learn at different rates, in different

ways – research supports this, personal

experience confirms this – why not use it to

the advantage of BOTH the teacher and the


year three grading feedback
Year Three – Grading & Feedback
  • Student Self-Assessments
  • Formative Assessments – What do they tell me?
  • Effective Feedback
“Why. . . Would anyone want to change current grading practices?
  • The answer is quite simple: grades are so imprecise that they are almost meaningless.”
    • Marzano, R.J. Transforming Classroom Grading, ASCD, Alexandria, VA, 2000, pg.1.

Thinking about your own school experiences

(as both a student and in your current role) . . .

- What do grades represent to you?

- How are grades assigned?

the shift
The Shift

Formative Assessments are just that


Grades are based on summative evidence.

(i.e. I stopped grading homework.)

not grading homework
Not grading homework

- more time to provide better feedback on projects and other forms of assessments

- keeping the student involved

Students should be involved in their own learning. Teach them how to evaluate their own progress.
benefits from student self assessment
Benefits from Student Self-Assessment
  • Cognitive achievement – although all students benefit, self-evaluation helps the lowest achieving students the most
  • Motivation – students taught to self-evaluate are more likely to persist on difficult tasks, be more confident about their ability, and take greater responsibility for their work
  • Attitude about evaluation – students who are taught and regularly participate in self-evaluation have a more positive attitude about evaluation and assessments

from Seven Strategies of Assessment for Learning

There is a difference between praise,

guidance and feedback.

Without a learning target, it is easy to give

guidance but not feedback.

The Learning Target allows us to focus on


effective feedback
Effective Feedback
  • Centered on student’s learning AT THAT MOMENT
  • Motivating – corrects without tearing down

- Immediate (timely)

- Consistent

- Specific

- Opportunity to improve

- Ongoing

taking care of business
Taking Care of Business

Providing Remediation Opportunities

Learning is measured in terms of mastering

Learning Targets – not by the letter grade

Remediation Structure


grading practices
Grading Practices
  • Everything does NOT need to be graded
  • The quality of the feedback is what makes the difference in learning.
  • They WILL do it when they realize that the purpose in what we do is focused on mastering the content
  • Grades based on mastering the content NOT based on behavioral factors
year four communication
Year Four - Communication

How did I communicate

the changes in my

grading practices?

get the word out
Concerned Parties:

- Administrators

- Parents

- Students

Methods of Communication:

Open Conversations

Letters to Parents


Get the Word Out
my school

950 students

75% Free & Reduced Lunch

Student-Teacher Ratio of 20 - 1

year five refining my classroom
Year Five – Refining My Classroom
  • Better communication with Students, Parents, Administrators
  • Refining the use of student-self assessments and other formative assessment tools
my school86
My School

Beginning our 4th year with CASL . . .

More than just compliance – compliance

doesn’t mean that change will occur.

take home countdown
Take Home Countdown

3things I’ll remember

2 people I’ll tell it to

1 thing I’ll try

review of today
Review of Today
  • Senate Bill 1 – the need for balanced assessment
  • Example of CASL incorporated in a middle school setting
  • Example of CASL incorporated in a high school setting
  • Reflection – similarities and differences between the two examples
reflecting in style
Reflecting in Style

Three ideas from our work today:

One thing I would tell a friend about this workshop:

Learning targets are best described as a road map, a recipe book, a lever, or a self-assessment. Pick one and explain

Before today I thought:

Now I think: