Power Standards: An Overview Presented by Larry Ainsworth, M.S. The Leadership and Learning Center www.LeadandLearn.com (866) 504-9312 The Need to Prioritize “Teachers need to prioritize a set of content standards so they can identify the content standards at which they will devote powerful, thoroughgoing instruction, and then they need to formally and systematically assess student mastery of only those highpriority content standards.” ( W. James Popham, Test Better, Teach Better: The Instructional Role of Assessment, ASCD, 2003, p. 36) Timeless and Timely Curriculum “There’s a need for both timeless curriculum content and timely content…We have to make decisions about what we shed and what we keep—and some of what we’re holding on to is predicated on outdated needs (of students).” (Heidi Hayes Jacobs, “Creating a Timely Curriculum,” Educational Leadership, Volume 61, Number 4, p. 13). Power Standards A Proven Process for Prioritizing the Standards Larry Ainsworth, Power Standards: Identifying the Standards That Matter the Most, 2003 Ever Wondered This? So many standards (indicators), so little time! How can teachers effectively teach and assess them all? Would You Agree? Isn’t depth of a lesser number of key concepts and skills preferable to “covering” superficially every concept in the book? Typically in U.S., teaching has been “inch deep, mile wide” Wouldn’t “inch wide, mile deep” better meet student learning needs? Deciding What to Teach Within Time Allotted “Given the limited time you have with your students, curriculum design has become more and more an issue of deciding what you won’t teach as well as what you will teach. You cannot do it all. As a designer, you must choose the essential.” Heidi Hayes Jacobs, 1997 Time and Viability “In the current era of standards-driven curriculum, viability means ensuring that the articulated curriculum content for a given course or given grade level can be adequately addressed in the (instructional) time available.” Robert Marzano, What Works in Schools, ASCD, 2003, p. 25. Consider These Facts 5.6 instructional hours per day X 180 days = 1008 hours per year X 13 years = 13,104 total hours of K-12 instruction McREL identified 200 standards and 3093 benchmarks (indicators) in national- and state-level documents across 14 different subject areas Classroom teachers estimated a need for 15,465 hours to adequately teach them all More Years In School ? “To cover all this content, you would have to change schooling from K-12 to K-22…The sheer number of standards is the biggest impediment to implementing standards.” “By my reckoning, we would have to cut content by about two-thirds.” Robert Marzano, Educational Leadership, Sept. 2001, p. 15 Time Actually Devoted to Instruction Varies widely from a low of 21% to high of 69% Taking highest estimate of 69%, only 9042 hours are actually available for instruction out of the original 13,104 hours total Can 200 standards and 3093 benchmarks needing 15,465 hours be taught in only 9042 hours of instructional time? No! Robert Marzano, What Works in Schools, ASCD, 2003, pp. 24-25. Power Standards All standards (and indicators) are not equal in importance! Narrow the standards and indicators by distinguishing the “essentials” from the “nice to know” Teach the “nice to know” in the context of the essentials! Prioritization, not elimination! Power Standards and Supporting Standards Like fence postholes, Power Standards provide curricular focus in which teachers need to “dig deeper” and assure student competency. Like fence rails, “Supporting Standards” are curricular standards which connect to and support Power Standards. Are the Rectangle and Rhombus Equally Important? Which is more essential for students to really understand and be able to do—in school, in everyday life, and on state tests? Understand how to find area and perimeter of a rectangle or triangle in an applied, real-life context OR Memorize the formula for finding the area and perimeter of a trapezoid, parallelogram, or rhombus The rectangle is a fence post; the rhombus is a rail But We Have To Do It All! The Old Model: State Standards District Curriculum Frantic Coverage of Every Test Objective The New Model – From Coverage to Focus State Standards Potential Curriculum and Test Objectives FOCUSED Curriculum and Assessments But The State Tests All Standards! • Good set of Power Standards will address about 88% of the items on the state test, but not 100% • If you go after that extra 12%, you will have to cover many more standards (indicators) and have less time to teach the truly essential ones • Rationale: better to be proficient at 88% of what will probably be on state test versus exposure to 100% of what could be on test Critical Conversations “What knowledge and skills do this year’s students need so they will enter next year’s class with confidence and a readiness for success?” Power Standards PRIORITIZE the standards by distinguishing the “essentials” from the “nice to know” Teach the “nice to know” in the context of the essentials! Critical message for everyone to remember: prioritization, not elimination! Power Standards provide FOCUS for both instruction and assessment Selection and Alignment Selection of Power Standards based on criteria of endurance, leverage, and readiness for next level of learning Power Standards vertically aligned from one grade to the next, one course to the next, until there is a K-12 vertical “flow” of standards Power Standards Steps Step 1: Make initial selections based on professional judgment Step 2: Reference state test requirements and state test data Step 3: Modify selections as needed Step 4: Vertically align standards K-12 Step 5: Acquire feedback from all sites Step 6: Revise, publish, distribute For Further Reference Larry Ainsworth, Power Standards: Identifying the Standards That Matter the Most, 2003 Larry Ainsworth, M.S. Center for Performance Assessment (866) 504-9312 ext. 509 [email protected] www.LeadandLearn.com

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# Designing and Assessing Standards