Sunday, June 27, 2010

New standards: how much breaking down?

Rick Stiggins and his colleagues make a compelling argument that clear ladders of expectations are essential to learning success. Students need to be able to look at current work, see how they've moved up a rung from earlier efforts, and see what added rung they need to reach for next.  Teachers must convert official standards into workable steps that students can climb that way.  That conversion process is spoken of as "deconstructing" or "breaking down" state or district standards for classroom use, working to create usable scaffolds for students to move up.

With Kentucky's new Common Core Standards, how big will that task be?

Before I saw the documents, I thought it would be huge.  Now that I've wrestled them a dozen ways and spent two days with quite wonderful practicing educators, I'm rethinking that.

As an example, under Writing Standard 8:

• Kindergarten and first grade students "recall information from experiences or gather information from provided sources to answer a question," with the specification that they do the work "with guidance and support from adults."

• Second graders do similar work with more independence.

• Third graders begin choosing their own sources (both print and digital) and taking brief notes. As they gather their evidence, they sort it into categories their teachers provide.

• Fourth graders decide on their own categories for sorted information, expand their note-taking, and begin including a source list with their writing.

• Fifth graders continue all that, adding skill in summarizing and paraphrasing in their notes and finished writing.

• Each later grade notches up the expectations a bit further, ending with college and career ready students who can "gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, assess the credibility and accuracy of each source, and integrate the information while avoiding plagiarism." 
    To me, that looks very close being a clear scaffold or ladder already.  The other standards have the same sort of progressions built in.

    With the Common Core Standards, I think the initial Stiggins-style deconstruction work will be a relatively quick and simple process.

    No comments:

    Post a Comment

    Updates and data on Kentucky education!