Board, District, School and Classroom Components
Implementaton of Standards
Many State Education Departments have developed,
adopted and provided schools with an extensive curriculum framework that
represents their state's educational standards. Such standards usually define
student academic expectations and describe elementary, middle and secondary
level demonstrators or benchmarks of student performance. State assessment
programs have been changed or are rapidly undergoing changes to reflect
their state's standards. Such standards or frameworks are intended for use
by schools as a guide or blueprint in the development of local content and
performance standards. If well designed, these standards reflect both the
local curriculum and the state's new framework.
The MES process provides training on how to have
local standards based on state standards. The purpose of developing local
content and performance standards is to extend a State's general framework
to very specific grade or course level content that is to be learned in
each curricular area and taught teacher by teacher. Thus, content standards
clarify both the state framework and intended curriculum by defining what
teachers are expected to teach and what students are expected to learn at
each grade, course or level of program difficulty. Likewise, grade, course
or program level performance standards describe performance indicators and
assessments that are used to determine the degree of student learning that
has been achieved. Ideally learning can be demonstrated and correlated to
each of the individual content standards.
One of the fundamental purposes of clarifying the
state framework and the intended local curriculum at each level of program
difficulty, and consequently for each teacher's assigned grade level or
course, is to ensure that all students achieve high levels of understanding,
in all content areas, at each program level. This is consistent with the
correlates of Effective Schools "Clear School Mission" and "High
It is assumed by most educational
initiatives that schools understand their mission. This may prove to be
true in some cases, but it should not be assumed! Given the current national
and state emphasis on redefining standards, the question of "clear
school mission" and "high expectations" becomes even more
critical to school improvement. Due to these factors, the MES process was
extended in 1996 to directly address the implementation of state standards.
To borrow from the wisdom of Steven Covey and his
findings, we should "begin with the end in mind". The development
of content standards provides clear statements about what all students are
expected to learn and when they are expected to learn it. Performance standards
expand on the "what" by answering the question "how good
is good enough?". Districts that have answers to these questions can
clarify expectations. Once expectations are understood, everyone can truly
"begin with the end in mind", and consequently, will know when
the desired end results have been achieved!
A district-wide committee is formed for each content
area addressed. Each committee consists of key teachers (representing all
grade levels & schools), principals, the district's curriculum expert
and other people selected by the district such as parents and other representatives.
All committee members participate in one day
of inservice education regarding the effective
schools research, standards, implications of standards for school improvement
and assignments for collecting standards information from each teacher in
The last portion of this inservice enables members
of the standards committee to organize into building level subcommittees
and establish a plan for surveying all teachers in their school regarding
Map Existing Standards
Based on plans developed during the first day if
inservice, the building level subcommittee survey staff to determine existing
standards at each grade level or for each course.
The elements of this process are outlined as follows:
- Samples of grade /course level standards are
distributed for each subject area to teachers. Each teacher reviews samples
for the grade(s) or courses they teach plus the grade or course before
and after their assigned level. Teachers are asked to confirm the "content"
taught that students are expected to "master" by the end of the
school year or course (only content mastered is mapped).
- Teacher responses are collected by grade or course
for standards committee use.
|Grade and Course Level Content Standards
The standards committee meets for two days. (Different
content committees can meet and work at the same time.) The committee's
task is to analyze teachers' responses to the samples, state standards and
local curriculum requirements and then draft content standards appropriate
for each grade level and course. The standards drafted must be consistent
with state standards and assessments and reflect levels of difficulty, as
appropriate, to establish the prerequisite knowledge necessary for student
success at the next level or grade.
Standards are written in a format that specifies
student expectations (or learning outcomes) and associated performance indicators.
Performance indicators clearly define the level of difficulty intended that
|Committee Approves Standards
Newly drafted grade level content standards (including
associated performance indicators) are circulated to staff, parents and
the extended community for awareness, review and comment.
The standards committee considers comments from
review process, makes necessary modifications and recommends final draft
content standards to superintendent.
The Superintendent either formally approves the
committee's recommendations, or returns them to the committee with questions/concerns
for the team to consider.
Once approved, grade level or course standards
are distributed to teachers for use in aligning their taught curriculum
and expectations with state standards and assessments. Standards written
in this format give teachers practical definitions for the correlates "Clear
School Mission" and "High Expectations".
After content standards are approved, two consecutive
days of staff development are necessary to train teachers in how to integrate
the standards into their lessons and how to develop and use performance
assessments. This initial training is focused on developing a thorough understanding
of performance assessments, how to develop and use them effectively as part
of the day to day instructional program. For example, teachers can develop
performance assessments based on use of themes or thematic units, the individual
content area, or specific units or courses.
Once trained, staff begin implementing newly developed
performance assessments as part of their lessons. Trial implementation is
usually continued for the remainder of the school year. (A sufficient trial
implementation period is necessary to ensure teachers understand how performance
assessments are best incorporated into the instructional process.) Because
most teachers have limited, if any, training in developing and using performance
assessments, trial implementation is considered as a time for trying things
out and for learning what really works in practice.
||At the end of the trial implementation and usually
prior to the beginning of the next school year, two additional days of professional
development time are necessary for staff to revise, redesign and write additional
performance assessments for the next year. These two days enable staff to
incorporate what they learned from their earlier experiences into improving
the quality of performance assessments.|
After performance assessment training, teachers
continue to develop assessments for each content standard as part of their
instructional units or courses. It is important that time be set aside for
this purpose on an annual basis. Providing opportunities for teachers to
share ideas and performance assessments across school and district boundaries
is also a way to continue support for implementation.
The standard setting process can be used, as needed,
for revising grade or program level standards.
Board, District, School and Classroom Components
Implementaton of Standards
IT'S WORKING FOR OTHERS! (Testimonials)
EFFECTIVE SCHOOLS (MES) PROCESS IS WINNING AWARDS.