A Few Blessings and Benefits
Demonstrating Unconditional Caring
For me, standards-based methodology is grounded in seeking to have strong relationships with my students. Carefully and continuously monitoring my students’ growth with my assessment practices tells them “I know you. I care about you. I believe in your strengths and will help problem solve any struggles you might encounter.” Any time learning was hard for my kids, I have always been careful to name any struggle as temporary with “not yet”/Growth Mindset words.
Communicating Meaningful Information
When you get right down to it, many of our assessment, grading, and reporting efforts are all about audience. Who needs information about our students’ academic growth and what specific information do they need? By working from the foundation of standards, we can detail what students currently know and understand and what they can do.
Seeing the standards as a developmental continuum, we give and gain descriptive feedback to and with students about their current strengths and needed next steps of learning.
Likewise, standards-based reporting makes it possible to give and gain descriptive feedback to and with parents about their child’s growth and progress toward specific goals/standards over time. Enlist parents’ insights and help in establishing their child’s next goals of learning.
Focus, Focus, Focus
“Know thy target.” John Hattie
Clarity about what students are to learn helps us align all our efforts - our curriculum, our assessment, each learning activity – and helps students concentrate on what is most important right now in knowing themselves as learners and thinkers moving their learning forward. Metacognition flourishes!
What does learning, teaching, assessment, and grading look like in Standards-Based Classrooms?
Apprenticeship is Focused and Shared
Teachers name the current learning focus and demonstrate the how’s and voice why’s of these Priority Standards for and with their students. Teachers encourage students to have a go at using these concepts and skills in their independent practice, too. These think-alouds and collaborative practice sessions can be observed over a long period of time to nurture students’ deep understanding and habits of mind.
Students serve as models for their peers in whole group focus/mini lessons, in small group collaboratives, and as learning partners.
Students co-create curriculum with teachers by asking questions and engaging in student generated projects aligned to Unit of Study Priority Standards.
The Walls Talk - Proficiency is Public
Enduring Understandings and Essential Questions are posted. Students also generate their own Essential Questions and develop a sense of inquiry from their questions. Some even turn into inquiry projects or serve as inquiry-based learning experiences.
Rubrics and other Unit of Study assessment tools are provided and posted.
Learning Targets are shared/posted and help to give students power and ownership over their own learning.
Exemplars are posted. Most are student-authored. Student work is the primary wallpaper or anchor texts of these classrooms.
Feedback is Constant
Multiple sources of data are sought and used to evaluate student’s and students’ progress toward academic goals and to guide lesson planning. Assessment as learning is evident daily.
Conferences – Teachers engage in daily conferences with a few or several students during each independent practice block. Students gain descriptive feedback about their progress toward Standards/current academic goals. Over time, students engage in peer conference to seek feedback and refine their work (i.e. revising a writing piece; generating possible solutions to math problem or science experiment; critiquing a process in P.E./art/music).
Student led discourse is part of every lesson.
Draft work and formative assessments are not graded.
Evaluation Energizes Learning and Teaching
Teachers evaluate students’ current level of development from and with multiple sources of data. Insights from these data pools focus and guide teaching responses.
Key Indicators of Proficiency are determined for each Unit of Study (by team). These help to gauge students’ growth and progress over time.
Practical and Informative Standards-Based Assessment Practices
Develop a portfolio of multiple data sources from formative assessments:
Guiding Premises Guskey & Bailey (2010)
Standards-Based Report Cards Development Stages
*7 Crucial Questions to Address in Developing Standards-Based Report Cards
1) What is the purpose of the report card?
2) How often will report cards be completed and sent home?
3) Will a specific report card be developed for each grade level or will a more general report card be used across several grade levels?
4) How many reporting standards will be included for each subject area or course?
5) What specific reporting standards will be included at each grad level or in each course?
6) Will standards be set for the grade level or for each marking period?
7) What specific process and progress standards will be reported?
8) How many levels of performance will be reported for each standard?
9) How will the levels be labeled?
10) Will teachers’ comments be included and encouraged?
11) How will information be arranged on the report card?
12) What are parents expected to do with this information?
13) What are students expected to do with this information?
14) What policies need to accompany the new reporting procedures?
15) When should input of parents and/or students be sought?
Read More About It!
Ainsworth, Briggs, Wiggs, Besser, and Almeida (2012). Navigating Assessment and Collaboration with the Common Core State Standards.
Benson in Almeida, Benson, Doubek, and Wiggs (2011). Standards and Assessment: The Core of Quality Instruction.
Benson (2005). “Going on Rounds” in the Colorado IRA Journal.
Carr and Harris (2001). Succeeding with Standards: Linking Curriculum, Assessment, and Action Planning.
Fisher and Frey (2013). Common Core English Language Arts in a PLC at Work Grades K-2.
Fisher and Frey (2013). Common Core English Language Arts in a PLC at Work Grades 3- 5.
Guskey and Bailey’s (2010). Developing Standards-Based Report Cards.
Guskey and Jung (2013). Answers to Essential Questions about Standards, Assessments, Grading, and Reporting.
Heflebower, Hoegh, Warrick (2015). A School Leader’s Guide to Standards-Based Grading.
O’Connor, Ken. (2009). How to Grade for Learning K-11 - Third Edition.
Vatterott (2014). Rethinking Grading: Meaningful Assessment for Standards-based Learning.
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