Curriculum Alignment at Queen Elizabeth High School A Brief Introduction Monday November 17, 2003 by Mr. Wayne Lincoln Purpose of the session To begin the conversation around curriculum alignment, to provide some opportunities for reflection, and to examine what alignment of a unit might look like in an African Canadian Studies 11 class. 2 What are your own thoughts on curriculum alignment and what does it mean to you? 1.Take a couple of minutes and put your ideas on paper. 2. Share your thoughts with your colleagues who are in close proximity to you. 3 Now, what are you really thinking? a) This too shall pass. b) Fasten your seatbelts! c) Do we really have to? d) Collaborative sigh. e) Something else for teachers to make successful. f) All of these 4 Something to reflect upon… “Most high-performing schools simply reflect the social capital of their students (they are primarily schools with students of high socioeconomic status) , rather than the internal capacity of the schools themselves. Most low-performing schools cannot rely on the social capital of students and families and instead must rely on their organizational capacity.” Elmore, R.F. (2002). Harvard Magazine, Vol 105, (1) September-October 2002, p.35. Retrieved 05/11/2003 http://www.harvardmagazine.com/online/0902140.html 5 What is Curriculum Alignment? Educational theorists and scholars such as Beverly Freedman, former Superintendent of Educational Programs, Durham (Ontario) Board of Education, who will be working with HRSB staff, have suggested that curriculum alignment refers to a process of organizing instruction into units that are aligned with the written curriculum and student assessment. 6 WRITTEN CURRICULUM (TARGETS) STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT ASSESSED CURRICULUM TAUGHT CURRICULUM Halifax Regional School Board: Outcomes – Based Student Assessment 7 What Curriculum Alignment is not! Superficial alignment i.e. Checking off any outcomes we may happen to have covered. 8 Curriculum Alignment … levels the playing field for students as it ensures that everyone has to meet the same outcomes e.g. “is this going to be on the test ?”or “I want to be in her class.” or “this is how I understand the outcome so this is what I am going to teach.” is about accountability, responsibility, and quality control. will be imposed on us if we are not proactive . does not mean that we are not doing our jobs effectively. will rely on administration and teachers to make it work. may already be in the implementation phase in some classrooms. is not new. 9 Why is Curriculum Alignment so important? 1. We need to be more concerned with what students have learned as a result of their schooling experience than with what they know and can do regardless of the source of that knowledge or those skills. 2. Proper curriculum alignment enables us to understand the differences in the effects of schooling on student achievement. 10 Why is Curriculum Alignment so Important? 3. Poorly aligned curriculum results in our underestimating the effect of instruction on learning. 4. Concern for educational accountability. From: Anderson, L.W. (2002) Curricular Alignment: A Re:Examination, Theory Into Practice, 41(4), p. 259 11 Furthermore, Baratz-Snowden (1993) in Anderson (2002) contends: “If students are to be held accountable for their learning, then schools must be held accountable as well by demonstrating that they provide students with opportunities to learn to meet the standards [outcomes] that have been set” (p. 317) 12 Critics of Curriculum Alignment (CA) such as Wraga (1999) argue: Underlying CA is all about what is taught and no assumptions of equity consideration is given and accountability are to how students are problematic taught CA validates “teaching CA demands to the test” and compliance while promotes greater ignoring the teacher’s reliance on high stakes role as curriculum testing developer & impact on student learning 13 However, Glatthorn (1999) contends: In a time of mandated standards[outcomes] and high-stakes tests, ignoring the need for alignment is foolish at best. The issue is not “Should we align?” Rather, it is “ How can we align so that the alignment is teacherdirected and teacher-friendly?” 14 Principles of Learning from NS Public School Program Active construction of Learning as integrated knowledge Construction and meaningfulness of knowledge in terms of prior knowledge and experiences Social and collaborative environment whole Learners see themselves as capable and successful Different ways of learning & representing Reflection is key to learning 15 How might these principles impact on planning units and lessons in my African Canadian Studies 11 class? 1. 2. 3. My class would have to be more activity-based with activities carefully planned to meet outcomes-see curriculum documents. I would have to have knowledge of the prior experiences (e.g. collaborate with prior teachers, engage in discussions with students). I would have to plan for my environment to be a social and collaborative space for my students. 16 Impact on instructional planning 4. 5. 6. 7. I would have to explore connections with other subject disciplines- –English, languages mathematics, sciences, art, music, social studies. I would have to plan instructional events which would enable students to have opportunities for success e.g write a poem, role play a situation, make up a rap song and perform it, depict the life of Black Nova Scotian loyalists in a drawing. I would have to more accepting of different learning styles and ways of representing, not just the ones I prefer. I would have to provide opportunities for student reflection e.g. journalling, portfolios – i.e. data collection, and tap into the knowledge gained. 17 An example of Curriculum Alignment in ACS11 With the 7 principles (construct, prior, environment, integrated, capable, different ways, reflection) in the back of my mind, I would ask myself : What are the big ideas I want my students to take away from this unit or lesson? Which of the Essential Graduation Learnings apply? What is the General Curriculum Outline for this unit/lesson? 18 ACS11 example What is(are) the Specific Curriculum Outcome(s) or targets I want students to hit? How will I assess to ensure the target is met i.e what kinds of evidence and how much must I collect? How will I plan for this unit? How will information be communicated back to the student and the parent? 19 Reflection Activity Please take 5 – 10 minutes and complete the handout . Try to work without consulting a fellow staff member. Please be candid about your assessment and instructional practices. 20 BI’s EGL’s PoL’s GMI’s Aesthetic Express’n Actively Construct Linguistic Citizenshp Prior Experienc LogicalMathemat Commun Social & Collabor Spatial Personal Develop Integrated Whole BodilyKinesthet Problem Solving Capable & Musical Successful Technolog Diff ways Competen Learn & rep AP’s IP’s Interpersn ________ Intrapersn Reflection Naturalist 21 So what’s the point? Big ideas and essential understandings are what our courses are about. They frequently overlap with Essential Graduation Learnings i.e what the Department expects us to accomplish. It is important for us to have a clear picture of where we are headed in order for our students to understand our expectations. 22 So what’s the point? Have we taken ownership of the EGL’s or do we view it as an imposition from above? Do we believe in the Principles of Learning and if so have we incorporated them into our instructional plan? If we do not believe in them, why not? Do we really believe in MI theory or is it a case of “been there, done that and got the T-shirt?” Is there evidence of MI theory in our classes? 23 Framework for unit or lesson planning promoting Curriculum Alignment E ssential G raduation Learnings B ig or E nduring Ideas G eneral Curriculum O utcom es S pecific Curriculum O utcom es or Targets A ssessm ent P lan S em ester-long Instructional P lan Unit and lesson plans S chool P lan P lan for Com m unicating Learning Teacher's P lan 24 Origins of Curriculum Alignment Standards movement in U.S. which grew out of calls for greater accountability in the public educational system. Curriculum Alignment Project Los Angeles Unified School District 1979-1982 grades 3-6 with substantive success for marginalized students. Calls for curriculum alignment in Canada with the accountability movement. 25 Origins of Curriculum Alignment Curriculum Alignment in HRSB (2002-2003) arises from the need to Plan For Improvement (PFI) as HRSB establishes its vision to become the most improved school board in Canada in the next five years in terms of measurable achievement targets guided by the principles: Every child can learn All schools can improve 26 What might an aligned unit in ACS11 look like? e.g. Unit VI – Journey to Empowerment GCO –Students will investigate the importance of collective consciousness of peoples of African descent as a strategy for empowerment. I interpret this to mean that students have to study how African Canadians/African Nova Scotians collectively have been able to empower themselves in the context of the larger, dominant Euro-Canadian society. 27 What are the big ideas (essential questions) that I want my ACS students to take away from this unit? What is collective consciousness and why is it of particular importance to peoples of African descent? What is empowerment & disempowerment? What kinds of empowerment exist? How would you empower yourself and your community? Afrocentricity v Eurocentricity. How would you meet the challenges of societal forces and institutions that combine to disempower you? What have individual African Canadians/Nova Scotians done to empower themselves? What has been done elsewhere in the world and with what results? Spirit, Survival, Strength. 28 What are the SCO’s (targets)? Examine concept of Explain how community- based groups/grassroots empowerment with organizations have examples. developed & changed Examine empowerment over time (NSAACP, model & impact through AUBA, BUF, BEA…). institutional change. Examine contributions & Investigate global impact achievements of African of political empowerment Canadian/NS men & & independence of women in social, colonized countries 1950’s educational, political, to present. religious , & judicial Discuss some of institutions. challenges facing African Analyse rel among Cdn/NS today. descendents of the diaspora & people from African continent. 29 What skills & knowledge are required to meet the targets? Reading and writing skills Analytical skills & competence with technology Problem solving skills Critical thinking skills Ability to research & present Knowledge about power & power structures Knowledge about the experiences of ANS 30 How might I integrate technology into this unit on empowerment? Use a webquest for some Pair Euro-Canadian of the community-based groups. Post course syllabus with calendar on QEH website. Work with CRS/TITL teachers to help students design websites on contributions & achievements of AC/NS men & women. Powerpoint presentations. students with African Nova Scotian students to communicate via student.ednet email on issues of empowerment. Use the www to research the global impact of independence from colonial countries and to gain a perspective from African electronic media. 31 What might my Assessment Plan look like? Formal: End of unit test Case study Inglewood Visual representation of work done by community-based groups/grassroots organizations Reflection on video In-class assignments Informal: Brief oral reports on readings & research on African Cdn/NS men & women Journal Portfolio (selfassessment) 32 What results would I want to see from my assesment plan? I would be looking for clear evidence that the SCO’s i.e. targets have been met and that students have a good understanding of the big ideas and are able to respond to the essential questions in the unit. Students would be involved in developing the rubrics for all assessment events and would have input in the composition of the test i.e. selected, constructed, and extended response questions. Results may lead to reteaching, varying instructional strategies, reallocation of time, varying assessment strategies. 33 Unit planning--Empowerment Time frame 4-5 weeks. Concept of empowerment with examples-2 Empowerment model (CAAA) & impact-3 Global impact of empowerment & indep-2 Development & change of community groups-3 Contributions & achievements of African Canadians/Nova Scotians-3 Challenges facing African Nova Scotians-3 Relationships among descendents of the diaspora & people from the African continent-2 Testing, video, computer lab & library time-5 Total # classes = 23 34 Materials/Resources needed for the unit Text(s) & Supp readings Guest speaker(s) Photocopy resources Contact partner school Computer in class & LCD with ANS community as feeder community Librarian/tech human resources, on-line resources, & time projector & ext cord TV/VCR & screen O/H Projector CRS Lab & CRS Teacher Time HRSB TITL access 35 How will I make provisions for adaptations, MI, learning styles, & diverse abilities? Use of O/H & TV/VCR for more visual learners. Use of small-group cooperative learning situations for interpersonal and logicalmathematical intelligences. Field trip to Black Cultural Centre for bodilykinesthetic, naturalist & visual-tactile learners. Texts & readings for linguistic intelligences. Music & poetry for musical & linguistic intelligences. Refer to Tanya MacNeil’s (MHS) document on IPP’s & Adaptations. Reflections, journals, portfolios for intrapersonal intelligence. Use of technology for diverse abilities. 36 How will information be communicated back to the student & parent? Informal conversations with students inside or outside of the classroom. Through assessments & rubrics. Random telephone calls or emailsbalanced i.e. not just negative calls. 37 Thank you for your participation.