Blog: Identify a standard that impacts your local environment or practice. Reflect on the value of the standard and its intended affect on student learning.
Our district has moved from standards to essential learnings. One essential learning that our 9th graders are focusing on this year is writing for a critical and argumentative intent. We broke this essential learning down further into focusing on their topic sentences for the first common assessment.
Amazingly, when we were first making the switch to essential learnings, our staff was not all on board and so it has taken quite some time to get us all into a place where we are all focused on the same idea. Now that we are here, we are in our second year focusing on one aspect under this essential learning; we are really working at common assessments of this essential learning in hopes that we will soon move to best practices. This has been a tough process!
As far as the standard’s value, I do think it is a good life skill to know how to write effectively and communicate a point to a variety of audiences. I think where it is challenging is how does that look to each teacher and student? We are focusing solely on the one standard because we feel that this standard would benefit so many others in our students’ whole school experience. But it seems that when we are trying to assess this standard, it also becomes a reading assessment as well because some of the kids don’t understand the story they are responding to. Actually, reflecting I think so many of the standards are built off on another that in order to be successful in one, others must accompany it as well.
In the long run, I think the standard will directly benefit the students because once the teachers have shared best practices in how to achieve the standard, all our students will be proficient in their learning and written communication. This will in turn benefit their reading and hopefully will benefit their oral communication skills as well. Ultimately, our staff hopes this will be a transferable concept so that their learning in all their classes will increase.