Friday, May 10, 2013

Speaking and Listening (CCSS Goes Deep)

The Common Core State Standards reach beyond reading and writing to address speaking and listening.  The anchor standards for college and career readiness come under two headings and look like this.
Comprehension and Collaboration
1. Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
2. Integrate and evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.
3. Evaluate a speaker’s point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric.  
Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas 
4. Present information, findings, and supporting evidence such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
5. Make strategic use of digital media and visual displays of data to express information and enhance understanding of presentations.
6. Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and communicative tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate.
Through the Literacy Design Collaborative, I'm seeing lots of potent work on these skills, with students becoming more able to do this work and teachers developing new insights into what further support and challenge students will need.

I'm a bit more puzzled about whether states can and will assess these skills in a standardized way.

Maybe the answer will be that, to learn academic content and make sense of complex texts they read, students will need to use these kind of speaking and listening as part of how they sort out what they are studying, and to write their own strong pieces, they will need to use similar skills on the way to organizing their work.  I see many LDC teachers adding those steps as means to the end of strong writing about important reading and essential questions in academic fields.

 Or, possibly, innovative districts like my own Danville Independent will work out richer ways for students demonstrate this sort of skill, moving us beyond what "pencil and paper" or "keyboard and screen" assessments can measure well.

Or, perhaps, some other approach is already being developed for these issues.  Part of the genius of Common Core is that, because many states have the same goals, an innovative approach can be used many places.  For all kinds of organizations working to support schools and students, that means each effort that works can spread farther and make a bigger difference.

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