What You Need to Know Standards Based Planning

Introduction

Standards Based Planning Process includes planning lessons and units built on standards, and creating assessments that measure student progress toward standards.

From ASCD article on Developing Well Designed Standards Based Units

The Process of Standards-Based Planning

Identify Essential Standards

Authors, Carla Moore, Michael D Toth, and Robert J Mariano (2017), of The Essentials for Standards-Driven Classrooms, point out the key concept of identifying essential standards versus supporting standards:

Authors believe the first two steps are crucial to determine what the essential standards are and how to group them to successfully master standards-driven planning. Standards are rarely taught in isolation. Most of the time essential standards and supporting standards are interrelated.

Grouping Standards into Measurement Topics and Units

The key concept is that standards are tested together and should be taught together. Grouping standards into units is the next step once standards you need to teach are identified. This will ensure that you are teaching standards cohesively, according to the authors.

Authors show two ways to group standards into units. One way is to determine which standards is to see which ones rely on each other for learning. Another way is if you know which standards are tested together, it will give you a good idea of which standards to teach together. Authors call such groups of standards ‘measurement topics.’ It is an excellent way to create your units planning lessons around measurement topics and supporting standards.

Tips for Grouping Standards into Units:

Unpacking the Standards to Create Learning Targets

Look for the verbs with their associated knowledge. Both combined to determine the student actions. This key concept comes after you have grouped standards into units. Authors explain that the associated students action answers a simple “what?” question. For example:

Academic Standard: CCSS: ELA-Literacy RI.4.6: Compare and contrast a firsthand and second hand account of the same event or topic; describe the differences in focus and the information provided.

Verbs: Compare, Contrast, Describe

Learning Target: Verb (Student Action) + Knowledge

Authors (2017) state “A learning target is a short descriptive phrase that includes a verb and student action, and details the essential knowledge and skills students must understand and be able to perform to demonstrate understanding of academic standards.” (pg 28)

Once the verb and knowledge are identified, this becomes your learning target. Authors note that a learning target represents a chunk of learning toward the standard.

Authors point out that teachers make many mistakes in the field as they learn to do this. One mistake is that a teacher might “under-chunk” a standard, which means the teacher has not broken the standard into sufficient learning targets. The chunks of the standard are still too large for students to absorb. Authors note that standards have lots of pieces that need to be pulled apart into digestible bites of learning for the students. For example:

Academic Standard: CCSS. ELA-Literacy. R.I. 4.6: Compare and contrast a firsthand and second hand account of the same event or topic; describe the differences in focus and the information provided.

Under-Chunked Learning Target

You can see the learning targets are now too large, and it will make it confusing and difficult for students to understand. When students miss these crucial learning targets, it will be difficult for them to master the standard.

Another error teachers make is to “over-chunk” the standard into too many small targets. For example:

Academic Standard: CCSS>MA.NS.1B: Understand p+q as the number located a distance [q] from p, in the positive or negative direction, depending on whether q is positive or negative. Show that a number and its opposite have a sum of 0 (are additive inverses). Interpret sums of rational numbers by describing real-world contexts.

Over-Chunked Learning Target

Authors point out that the larger idea, the full intent of the standard, is now lost by dropping some knowledge necessary for the student action to be complete. “Understand the sum of two rational addends” is only part of the student action, and by removing “as the number located a positive or negative distance away from the first addend,” large pieces of learning are omitted. It is worth remembering that you are weaving strands of knowledge together to help your students not only master the standard, but also understand the world.

You can learn more about how to design learning targets in my blog post Raise Trajectory of Learning.

Unpacking Standards to Create Learning Targets

Look for the verbs with their associated knowledge. Both combined to determine the student actions. This key concept comes after you have grouped standards into units. Authors explain that the associated students action answers a simple “what?” question. For example:

Academic Standard: CCSS: ELA-Literacy RI.4.6: Compare and contrast a firsthand and second hand account of the same event or topic; describe the differences in focus and the information provided.

Verbs: Compare, Contrast, Describe

Learning Target: Verb (Student Action) + Knowledge

Authors (2017) state “A learning target is a short descriptive phrase that includes a verb and student action, and details the essential knowledge and skills students must understand and be able to perform to demonstrate understanding of academic standards.” (pg 28)

Once the verb and knowledge are identified, this becomes your learning target. Authors note that a learning target represents a chunk of learning toward the standard.

Authors point out that teachers make many mistakes in the field as they learn to do this. One mistake is that a teacher might “under-chunk” a standard, which means the teacher has not broken the standard into sufficient learning targets. The chunks of the standard are still too large for students to absorb. Authors note that standards have lots of pieces that need to be pulled apart into digestible bites of learning for the students. For example:

Academic Standard: CCSS. ELA-Literacy. R.I. 4.6: Compare and contrast a firsthand and second hand account of the same event or topic; describe the differences in focus and the information provided.

Under-Chunked Learning Target

Compare and contrast a firsthand and secondhand account of the same event or topic.

Describe the differences in focus and the information provided.

You can see the learning targets are now too large, and it will make it confusing and difficult for students to understand. When students miss these crucial learning targets, it will be difficult for them to master the standard.

Another error teachers make is to “over-chunk” the standard into too many small targets. For example:

Academic Standard: CCSS>MA.NS.1B: Understand p+q as the number located a distance [q] from p, in the positive or negative direction, depending on whether q is positive or negative. Show that a number and its opposite have a sum of 0 (are additive inverses). Interpret sums of rational numbers by describing real-world contexts.

Over-Chunked Learning Target

Authors point out that the larger idea, the full intent of the standard, is now lost by dropping some knowledge necessary for the student action to be complete. “Understand the sum of two rational addends” is only part of the student action, and by removing “as the number located a positive or negative distance away from the first addend,” large pieces of learning are omitted. It is worth remembering that you are weaving strands of knowledge together to help your students not only master the standard, but also understand the world.

Organizing Targets into A Scale

Organize your chunked learning targets into a performance scale. This is a key concept that the taxonomy creates the progression of learning. Authors define a performance scale as a continuum that articulates distinct levels of knowledge and skills relative to a specific standard. Performance scales drive lessons, activities, assignments, and assessments when used as intended.

Authors use the analogy of an education GPS, leading you and your students, letting you know where you are in the journey, how much farther you must travel to reach your destination, and what lies ahead. Authors point out that performance scales articulate a distinct level of knowledge and skills relative to achieving the standards. Once organized according to their appropriate taxonomy levels, become a progression of learning that guides your journey.

Authors (2017) state that “performance scales organize learning targets into useful structures and make teaching visible to students.” (pg. 33) For example:

Elementary-English Language Arts

CCSS.ELA.Literacy. RI.4.6: Compare and contrast a firsthand and secondhand account of the same event or topic; describe the differences in focus and the information provided.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.9: Integrate information from two texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably.

4.0 Students will be able to: Decide whether a first-hand or secondhand account best conveys the event or topic, justifying conclusions with grounds, backing, and qualifiers.

3.0 Students will be able to: Compare and contrast a firsthand and second hand account of the same event or topic.

2.0 Students will recognize and recall specific vocabulary, including:

firsthand account, secondhand account, perspective, integrate

Students will be able to:

Describe the similarities between a firsthand and secondhand account of the same event or topic.

Describe the differences in focus in a firsthand and secondhand account of the same event or topic.

Describe the differences in the information provided in a firsthand and secondhand account of the same event or topic.

Identify whether a text is a firsthand account or a secondhand account of an event or topic.

Identify the focus (point of view, author’s perspective, etc.) of firsthand and secondhand accounts of the same event or topic.

Integrate information from two texts on the same topic, in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably.

1.0 With help, partial success at 2.0 and 3.0 level content.

0.0 Even with help, no success.

Above example of performance scale, you will notice that the scales provide learning targets directly from the standard. At level 3 of the scale are learning targets at the highest level of complexity (taxonomy) of the standard. At level 2, are foundational learning targets that contain prerequisite knowledge and processes that are not always explicitly stated in the academic standard. Level 2 also explicitly targets learning targets in the standard, but at lower thinking levels. Level 4 requires a level of processing or cognitive complexity that requires students to deeply dive into the content of academic standards and extend their learning. Level 4 targets require students to engage at higher thinking levels than the actual standards.

Planning for Student Evidence and Assessments

According to The Essentials for Standards-Driven Classrooms, planning for assessments is a crucial step in lesson planning. A key concept author points out that performance scales drive assessments, and planning assessments before you teach will clarify expectations of your students. Planning assessments help show how your students will demonstrate their knowledge to you. It also helps you keep a strong focus on the learning required and the evidence that learning has occurred.

Authors emphasize that assessment questions or performance tasks must match the level of rigors in terms of both students autonomy and cognitive complexity required by the learning target. Assessments should be strategically given throughout the unit of instruction to guide teaching, and all assessments are not necessarily tests or quizzes. Authors suggest informal assessments can provide more useful and timely information about student learning.

Standard(s) Learning Targets Taxonomy Level Student Evidence at Target Level
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.6: Compare and contrast a firsthand and secondhand account of the same event or topic; describe the differences in focus and the information provided. Decide whether a firsthand or secondhand account best conveys the event or topic, justifying conclusions with grounds, backing, and qualifiers. Knowledge Utilization: Decision Making Students decide which account best conveys the event or topic, and justify their conclusions with grounds, backing, and qualifiers.
Compare and contrast a firsthand and second hand account of the same event or topic. Analysis: Matching Students accurately evaluate and analyze similarities and differences from different accounts of the same event or topic.
Summarize the focus and information in the firsthand and secondhand accounts of the same event or topic. Comprehension: Integrating Students accurately summarize the focus and information of the firsthand account, then accurately summarize the secondhand account.
Recognize whether a text is a firsthand account or a secondhand account. Retrieval: Recognizing Students accurately highlight key words or phrases that indicate whether the person writing the text is a part of the event or not.
Identify the focus (point of view, author’s perspective, etc.) of firsthand and secondhand accounts of the same event or topic. Retrieval: Recalling Students’ words (verbal or written) accurately identify the focus or point of the text.
Sample of elementary ELA standards with learning targets, taxonomy level, and student evidence aligned to taxonomy and learning target

You can see from the chart that we start with a standard, break the standard into learning targets, identify the taxonomy level, and create student evidence. Authors suggest that after creating evidence, you want to check this work by asking if this student evidence aligns with the taxonomy, the learning target, and the intent of the standard?

Conclusion

Creating accurate standards-based performance scales and planning aligned lessons and assessments are no skills teachers develop overnight. Authors point out that this process can take three years. You will learn by trial and error what works and what doesn’t, when and why students seem to meet some targets easily, and missing others. However, the effectiveness of your performance scales, assessments, and instruction will be evident in your data.

Related Posts

4 Comments

  1. I am glad you like the website. It took some time to get it where I want it to be. I am constantly on the look out for new books and information. There are more posts coming.

  2. Excellent article. I definitely appreciate this website. Keep it up!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Verified by MonsterInsights