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Deconstructing Standards into Achievable Learning Targets. For more info, contact Karen Kidwell at OUR Targets. I can articulate the difference between a ‘standard’ and a ‘target.’

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deconstructing standards into achievable learning targets

Deconstructing Standards into Achievable Learning Targets

For more info, contact Karen Kidwell at

our targets
OUR Targets
  • I can articulate the difference between a ‘standard’ and a ‘target.’
  • I can deconstruct standards and evaluate my work for quality, accuracy, and usefulness.
  • I can transform learning targets into student friendly language.
research based strategies
Research-based Strategies

5 Research-based strategies that significantly improve student learning:

  • Sharing criteria (clear learning targets with success criteria)
  • Questioning
  • Feedback
  • Peer assessment
  • Self-assessment

Learning/Achievement Targets

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


A Mathematics Example


  • Math
  • Decimals
  • Page 152 in the book
  • Going on a decimal hunt
  • Read decimals and put them in order




Learning Target


Once you’ve identified the overall type of STANDARD, you’ll have a better understanding of the likely TARGET TYPES


Creating Targets for “Driving a Car with Skill”

  • What knowledge will students need to demonstrate the intended learning?
  • What patterns of reasoning will they need to master?
  • What skills are required, if any?
  • What product development capabilities must they acquire, if any?

Driving a Car with Skill

  • Knowledge
    • Know the law
    • Read signs and understand what they mean
  • Reasoning
    • Evaluate ‘am I safe’ and synthesize information to take action if needed
  • Skills
    • Steering, shifting, parallel parking, …
  • Products
    • (not appropriate target for standard)
“By setting out clearly in their own minds what they wanted the students to learn, the teachers would be in a position to find out what the ‘gap’ was between the state of students’ current learning and the learning goal and to be able to monitor that ‘gap’ as it closed.”
  • Assessment for Learning: putting it into practice
clear targets
Impact on students:

More focused (especially underachieving students).

Demand learning target.

More likely to express learning needs – specifically.

Develops a learning culture.

Quality of work improves.

Behavior improves.

Persevere longer.

Greater ownership of learning as responsibility shifts from teacher to student.

Automatically self-evaluative.

More enthusiastic about learning.

Impact on teachers:

More focused.

Sharpens teacher understanding of learning target.

Expectations rise.

Focus on quality rather than getting everything done.

More critical of activities.

Reinforces relevant vocabulary.

Assists in reflection of lesson and learning that occurred.

Strengthen connections with parents related to child’s strengths and weaknesses.

Clear Targets
“Without the learning intention, children are merely victims of the teacher’s whim.”

“The sharing of learning intentions is, however, more complex than simply repeating what is in the teacher’s plan.”

Shirley Clarke in Unlocking Formative Assessment

student friendly terms
Student Friendly Terms
  • “In order for the learning intention to be shared effectively, it needs to be clear and unambiguous, so that the teacher can explain it in a way that makes sense to her children.”
  • “…the task has to match the learning intention for the children to have a chance of fulfilling it.”
  • “…the learning intention has the greatest impact on children’s understanding of the task and their progress if it includes success criteria as well as the learning intention itself…”
  • “Teachers need to separate the task instructions clearly from the learning intention and success criteria, or children can begin their work without knowing clearly the difference between what you want them to do and what you want them to learn.”
  • The learning intention “needs to be the main focus of feedback.”
    • Shirley Clarke in Unlocking Formative Assessment

Clear Statement of Learning Target

  • Skill or concept to be defined: PREDICTION
  • A statement saying something will happen in the future.
  • Student-friendly language for target:
  • I can make predictions. This means I can use information/evidence to describe what is likely to happen next.
Students who can identify what they are learning significantly outscore those who cannot.
  • Robert Marzano
student friendly language
Student Friendly Language
  • From K-3 Deconstruction

“Observe and describe properties of material objects”

  • Student Friendly Language:

I can describe the physical properties of objects that I can see, touch, and/or smell.

student friendly terms1
Student Friendly Terms

We’ll know we’ve achieved this because…

We are learning to…

Hey Dad! Let me show you…

“Any student who leaves school still needing their teacher to tell them that they’ve done well has not yet learned to hit the target. They’ve not yet learned to recognize good thinking.”
  • Rick Stiggins
tips for deconstructing standards
Tips for Deconstructing Standards
  • Read the “Big Idea” and Enduring Understanding for the selected section of POS to provide overall context.
  • Start with POS Skills/Concepts statement.
  • Don’t over analyze each statement.
    • Select “main” category that best fits the entire statement.
  • Determine knowledge/reasoning/skills needed that are not explicitly stated.
  • Do the same with the related CCA statement.
  • Deconstruct further (i.e., knowledge, skills, product, etc.) as needed.

A 4th Grade Standard from Science Program of Studies

Students will represent the path of light as it interacts with a variety of surfaces (reflecting, refracting, absorbing).

so what s the target in this standard
So, what’s the target in this Standard?

Students will represent the path of light as it interacts with a variety of surfaces (reflecting, refracting, absorbing).

  • Know that light has a source
  • Represent the straight-line path of light
  • Know that we see objects because light is reflected from the object in its path to our eyes
  • Describe light that is reflected; refracted; absorbed by an object
let s practice
Let’s Practice!


Students will understand that there are only 92 naturally occurring elements and all matter is made of some combination of them (compounds).


Students will distinguish between elements and compounds and classify them according to their properties.


Students will:

·        classify substances according to their chemical/reactive properties;

·        infer real life applications for substances based on chemical/reactive properties.

  In chemical reactions, the total mass is conserved. Substances are often classified into groups if they react in similar ways. The patterns which allow classification can be used to infer or understand real life applications for those substances.

identifying the learning targets
Identifying the Learning Targets
  • Are the standards primarily knowledge, reasoning/skills or product based?
  • Use the Target Types/Underpinning Learning Targets Chart to figure out what kind of learning targets will result.
  • Are your targets clear with respect to what students should learn and be able to do?
  • Are they in terms students will understand?
group debrief
Group Debrief


  • How did the process feel?
  • What is the value of going through this process?
  • What support materials are needed to facilitate the process?
without clear targets we can t do any of the following
Without Clear Targets We Can’t Do Any of the Following…
  • Know if the assessment adequately covers and samples what we taught.
  • Correctly identify what students know and don’t know and their level of achievement.
  • Plan next steps in instruction.
  • Give detailed, descriptive feedback to students.
  • Have students self-assess or set goals likely to help them learn more.
  • Keep track of student learning target by target or standard by standard.
  • Complete a standards-based report card.
remember this
Remember This…
  • Learning targets need to be clear to all students.
  • Not all learning targets are unclear and need to be converted into student friendly language.
  • Activities should be selected/planned AFTER the learning targets are established.