UnpackingStandardsFeb3

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Unpacking Standards to
Promote Student Understanding
New Hampshire School
Administrators Association
February 1, 2007
Marcella Emberger
ASCD Faculty Member
[email protected]
1
Outcomes
Participants will increase their
understanding of the process of
unpacking Content Standards, know
the relationship among the process of
unpacking and developing effective
assessments & instruction, and
consider how this information impacts
their curriculum.
2
Advance Organizer
Content
 Connecting Standards and Other Curriculum
“Streams”
 The Challenges of Standards
 The Process of Unpacking
 Assessment/Instruction: Applications of
Unpacking
 Designing a Comprehensive Curriculum
 Process/Content
 Information Bursts
 Reflections
 Increased Understanding

3
“[Curriculum streams] flow
through the [educational]
system, ebbing at times,
then gathering strength
and flowing together in a
dynamic confluence.”
Allan A. Glatthorn (2000)
4
Curriculum Streams
 Academic
Rationalism
 Cognitive
Processes
 Technology
 Personal
Relevance
 Social Adaptation/
Reconstruction
5
Academic Rationalism, Cognitive
Processes, & Technology
Academic Rationalism –
the heart of the
curriculum is the
structure of the discipline
 Constructivism - student
as constructor of
knowledge
 Technology - programs
advocating a means-end
orientation

6
Personal Relevance and Social Adaptation

Student-centered
curriculum - based on
student/teacher interest
 Social Adaptation/
Reconstruction - Life
Adjustment Programs
(preparation for adult
life)
7
8
Core Elements of a New
Curriculum
Emphasizes greater depth
 Focuses on problem solving
 Combines both content skills and
knowledge
 Provides for individual differences
 Offers a common core to all
 Emphasizes the learned curriculum
 Attunes to personal relevance/interest

9
An Effective Curriculum has…

A focus on the mission of all schooling - to
enable all students to achieve worthy
intellectual accomplishment as reflected in
their ability to transfer their learning to worthy
and authentic tasks, reflecting deep levels of
understanding and key habits of mind.

A curriculum and assessment framework that
honors the overall mission and explicit longterm goals of academic programs to ensure
that content coverage is no longer the de facto
approach to lesson planning and instruction.
10
An Effective Curriculum has…

A set of explicit research-based principles of
learning to which all decisions about pedagogy
and planning are referred.

Structures, policies, job descriptions,
practices, and the use of resources consistent
with mission and learning principles.
11
An Effective Curriculum has…

A strategy of reform centered on the constant
exploration of the gap between a mission-driven
vision of reform versus the current reality of
schooling—i.e., a feedback-adjustment system
that is ongoing, timely, and robust enough to
enable teachers and students to change course
as needed en route to achieve desired results.

A straightforward process of planning for
orchestrating the key work of schooling and
school reform “backward” from the mission and
desired results.
12
13
Reflection:
Select one to discuss with a partner.
What is your “curriculum” history? What
other curriculum “streams” have impacted
your philosophy?
 What is your vision of a new curriculum?
 What do your staff members understand
about how our move to a new curriculum
and the implementation of Content
Standards impacts their teaching?

14
Content Standards
 Content
standards are also known as
learning goals or learning outcomes.
 Clearly written content standards provide a
focus for curriculum, assessment, and
instruction.
 Standards specify what students should
know and be able to do.
15
Three Challenges of
Content Standards

Overload - just too many to teach!

Some are too big and some are too
small [Goldilocks problem]

Some are too vague
16
17
Challenge #1: Overload

Researchers at Mid-continent Research
for Education and Learning (McRel)
identified 200 standards and 3,093
benchmarks in national-and state-level
documents for 14 subject areas.
Classroom teachers estimated that it
would take 15,465 hours to adequately
address these standards.
18
Do We Have the Time?
 3,093
benchmarks can not be adequately
taught in the approximately 9,042 hours
available (maximum)
 Even by extending the school year or the
school day, Marzano (2001) estimated that
as the current school year is structured,
schooling would need to be extended from
kindergarten to Grade 21 or 22.
19
Challenge #2: The Goldilocks
Problem
20
Some Standards Are Too Big
“The student will analyze the regional
development of Asia, Africa, the Middle
East, Latin America, and the Caribbean, in
terms of physical, economic, and cultural
characteristics and historical evolution
from 1000 A.D. to the present.”
 What exactly does the Standard expect
us to teach? What should be assessed?

21
Some Standards Are Too Small
“Compare the early civilizations on the
Indus River Valley in Pakistan with the
Huang-He of China.”
 Specific and easily measurable, but what
is the big idea of the discipline? Will the
students end up learning “factlets” that are
a matter of memorization?

22
Challenge # 3: Some Are Too
Vague
“Students will recognize how technical,
organizational and aesthetic elements
contribute to the ideas, emotions, and
overall impact communicated by works of
art.”
 The standard is so nebulous that different
art teachers will interpret it in different
ways, thus defeating the intention of
having clear, consistent, and coherent
goals.

23
New Hampshire Standards

Analyzes patterns, trends, or distributions in data in a
variety of contexts by determining or using measures of
central tendency (mean, medium, mode), dispersion
(range or variation), outliers, quartile values, or estimated
line of best fit to analyze situations, or to solve problems;
and evaluates the sample from which the statistics were
developed (bias, random, or non-random).

Organizing information to show understanding or
relationships among facts, ideas, events (e.g.
representing main/central ideas or details within text
through charting, mapping, paraphrasing, summarizing,
comparing/contrasting or outlining.)
24
Reflection
Discuss with a partner:
 What
have you observed in schools/
classrooms regarding implementing
standards-based curriculum?
 What are your challenges related to
supporting staff?
25
Unpacking Standards
In light of the need for standards to
be “unpacked,” how can we build
consensus about what all students
should understand (not just know
and do) so that they can see the
universal issues, patterns, and
significance of what they are
studying?
26
Backward Design at a Glance
Stage One: Identify Desired Results & Essential
Questions
a. Content Standards
b. Enduring Understandings
c. Enabling Knowledge/Skills
Stage Two: Assess Desired Results:
a. Use a Photo Album, Not Snapshot, Approach
b. Integrate Tests, Quizzes, Reflections and SelfEvaluations with Academic Prompts and Projects
Stage Three: Design Teaching and Learning Activities to
Promote Desired Results:
a. W.H.E.R.E.T.O. Design Principles
b. Organizing Learning So That Students Move
Toward Independent Application and Deep
Understanding Using Research-Based Strategies
27
Steps: Unpacking Standards:
Stage 1
Identify the Big Ideas
 Identify Core Tasks
 Identify Concepts that are Important to
Know and Do
 Determine What is Worth Being Familiar
With
 Identify Misconceptions/
Misunderstandings

28
Unpacking Standards Using the
Three-Circle Audit Process
 How
can you “unpack” your content
standards to determine their level of
power or significance?
 Understanding
by Design suggests that
you use the following three-circle audit
process:
29
The Understanding by
Design Three-Circle Audit
1. Standards need to be interpreted and
“unpacked.”
2. Staff members need to determine:
a. Outer Circle: What is worth being
familiar with?
b. Middle Circle: What should all
students know and be able to do?
c. Center Circle: What are the enduring
understandings students should
explore and acquire?
30
Establishing Clear Priorities:
Big Ideas & Transfer
worth being
familiar with
important
to
know & do
Big ideas
& core transfer
tasks
“nice to know”
important
knowledge & skill
“big ideas”
& core transfer tasks
at the
heart of the subject
31
Establishing priorities:
Math
Definition of
distributive property
How to group
& regroup
“nice to know”
foundational
skill
Equivalence,
and being able to
simplify, to solve real
problems,
using the idea
big idea &
core task
32
The difference a transfer task
makes:
How to group
and regroup
Process
of Equivalence
There is more than
one way to represent
numerical ideas; create a
poster that can teach a
younger child the concept of
equivalence through everyday
examples
Converting
fractions to percents…
33
What are Big Ideas?
Big ideas are…
significant and recurring concepts, principles, theories,
and processes that represent essential focal points or
“conceptual lenses” for prioritizing content.
ways to organize discrete curriculum elements such as
facts, skills, and activities.
transferable ideas applicable to other settings, situations,
and content areas.
engaging to students in the process of “uncoverage,”
discovering meaning, drawing significant inferences, and
enhancing the authenticity of learning experiences.
34
Some questions for
identifying truly “big ideas”




Does it have many layers, not obvious to the naïve or
inexperienced learner?
Can it yield great power, depth and breadth of insight,
into the subject?
Can it be used K-12?
Do you have to dig deep to really understand its
subtle meanings and implications, even if anyone at
any level, can have a surface grasp of it?
35
Some more questions for
identifying truly “big ideas”



Is it (therefore) prone to misunderstanding as well as
disagreement?
Are you likely to change your mind about its meaning
and importance over a lifetime?
Does it reflect a core idea, as judged by experts?
36
Categories for “Big Ideas”
Concepts
Equivalent Fractions
Adaptation
Themes
The American Dream
Ethical citizenship
Issues/Debates
Homeland Security
Creationism vs.
Evolution
Problems
Deforestation of the
rain forests
The technology gap
Challenges
Surviving the harsh
and dangerous frontier
life
Processes
Historiography
Scientific inquiry
Theories
The Theory of
Relativity
Natural Selection
Paradoxes
Assumptions/
Perspectives
 Poverty in the
Wealthiest Nation in the We are experiencing a
World
condition of global
warming.
37
From Big Ideas to
Enduring Understandings
Statements or declarations of understandings
comprised of two or more big ideas.
2. Framed as universal generalizations—the
“moral” or essence of the curriculum story.
3. Help students to “uncover” significant
aspects of the curriculum that are not obvious
or may be counterintuitive or easily
misunderstood.
4. Formed by completing the statement:
Students will understand THAT [See Math
Chart]
1.
38
Sample Enduring Understandings
1. Numbers are abstract concepts that enable us to
represent concrete quantities, sequences, and rates.
2. Democratic governments struggle to balance the rights
of individuals with the common good.
3. The form in which authors write shapes how they
address both their audience and their purpose(s).
4. Scientists use observation and statistical analysis to
uncover and analyze patterns in nature.
5. As technologies change, our views of nature and our
world shift and redefine themselves.
39
Essential Questions…






Are interpretive, i.e., have no single “right
answer.”
Provoke and sustain student inquiry, while
focusing learning and final performances.
Address conceptual or philosophical foundations
of a discipline/ content area.
Raise other important questions.
Naturally and appropriately occur.
Stimulate vital, ongoing rethinking of big ideas,
assumptions, and prior lessons.
40
Sample Essential Questions
1. To what extent can a fictional story be “true”?
2. Why study history? What can we learn from the past?
3. Why do societies and civilizations change as
technologies change?
4. How does language shape our perceptions?
5. How would our world be different if we didn’t have
fractions?
41
Enabling Knowledge Objectives
Once you’ve established what you want students to
understand (via enduring understandings and
essential questions), you’ll need to determine:

What should students know in order to achieve
these understandings and complete the unit
successfully?

What should students be able to do in order to
achieve these understandings and complete the
unit successfully?
42
The Structure of Knowledge
Declarative (Know)
Procedural (Do)
 Facts
 Skills
 Concepts
 Procedures
 Generalizations
 Processes
 Theories
 Rules
 Principles
43
Declarative Knowledge
(Know)

Facts: 1776; Annapolis is the capital of Maryland; Lyndon
Johnson succeeded John F. Kennedy.

Concepts: Concepts of similarity; scientific method; equivalent
fractions; grammar and usage

Generalizations: Tragic heroes frequently suffer because of a
failure to recognize an internal character defect; Technology
changes frequently produce social and cultural changes.

Theories: Einstein’s Theory of Relativity; Natural Selection

Rules: The Pythagorean Theorem; rules for pronouncing soundsymbol combinations in English

Principles: Newton’s Laws; the Commutative Principle
44
Procedural Knowledge (Do)

Skill: Focus a microscope; Decode the
meaning of a word using a context cue.

Procedure: Prepare and analyze a slide
specimen; Summarize the main idea of a
paragraph or passage.

Process: Collect a variety of leaf specimens
and compare their structures using a
microscope; Trace the development of an
author’s theme in a work of literature.
45
Reflection
Use the three circle audit and the
Knowledge and Skills handout.
 Discuss the process using one of
the New Hampshire standards on
Slide 24 (or another Standard with
which you are familiar)

46
Using Stage 1 “Unpacking”

Stage 2: Designing
 Diagnostic: Readiness, Interest,
Learning Profile
 Formative: ‘Assessments for Learning’;
“Everyday” Assessments;
Benchmarks…
 Summative: Assessments of Learning Final Assessments – performance tasks;
tests…
47
Pre-assessments: What’s
the Point?
Readiness
Interest
Learning
Profile
Growth
Motivation
Efficiency
48
1) To understand the student’s general
readiness, interest, & learning preferences,
2) To understand the student’s readiness,
interests, and learning preferences relative
to the curriculum you’re about to begin
teaching.
49
WHAT CAN BE ASSESSED?
READINESS
Skills
Content
Knowledge
INTEREST
LEARNING
PROFILE
• Current
• Areas of Strength
Interests
and Weakness
• Potential
• Learning
Interests
Preferences
• Talents/Passions
• Self Awareness
Concepts/Principles
50
Misunderstandings/Misconceptions

“Long before they enter school, children also
develop theories to organize what they see
around them. Some of these theories are on the
right track, some are only partially correct, while
still other contain serious misconceptions.”
Knowing What Students Know (2001) National Research
Council
 Everything in print must be true.


Science is the study of what we know about the world.
When you multiply two numbers together, the answer is
always bigger than both the original numbers.
51
Think “Photo Album”
versus “Snapshot”
 Sound
assessment requires multiple
sources of evidence, collected over
time.
52
Gather Evidence from
a Range of Assessments
 authentic tasks and projects
 academic exam questions,
prompts, and problems
 quizzes and test items
 informal checks for understanding
 student self-assessments
53
On-going Assessment:
A Diagnostic Continuum
Feedback and Goal Setting
Pre-assessment
(Finding Out)
Pre-test
Graphing Me
Inventory
KWL
Checklist
Observation
Self-evaluation
Questioning
Formative Assessment
Summative Assessment
(Keeping Track & Checking -up)
(Making sure)
Conference
Peer evaluation
3-minute pause
Observation
Whip around
Questioning
Exit Card
Portfolio Check
Quiz
Journal Entry
Self-evaluation
Unit Test
Performance Task
Product/Exhibit
Demonstration
Portfolio Review
54
Benchmarks and Standards:



Benchmarks are an interpretation of a performance
standard according to age, grade, or developmental
levels.
Usually students construct a response or demonstrate a
performance. Because there is generally no single
correct answer, student products are evaluated based on
judgments guided by criteria.
Benchmarks require the creation of performance
standards, established levels of achievement, quality of
performance, or degree of proficiency. Performance
standards specify how well students are expected to
perform or how well they can perform processes that
should be learned.
55
Value of Benchmarks
Benchmarks provide…
 student data for classrooms, schools, and school
systems.
 one way to monitor the progress students are
making on specific indicators.
 information to help teachers know who has met
proficiency and who hasn’t.
 information on what needs to be re-taught so
that all students are able to reach proficiency.
56
Performance Assessments
Making the Grade
Your math teacher will allow you to
select the method by which measure of
central tendency – mean, median or mode –
your quarterly grade will be calculated.
Review your grades for quizzes, tests,
and homework to decide which measure of
central tendency will be best for your
situation. Write a note to your teacher
explaining why you selected that method.
57
Cornerstone Assessments



Anchor the curriculum around
important, recurring tasks.
Require understanding and transfer
of learning.
Provide evidence of authentic
accomplishments.
(“doing the subject” and “playing the game”)
58
Sample Cornerstone
Performances

In science, the design and debugging of significant
experiments.
 In history, the constructing of a valid and insightful
narrative of evidence and argument.
 In mathematics, the quantifying and solving of
perplexing or messy real-world problems.
 In world language, the successful translation of complex
idiomatic expressions.
 In communication, the successful writing for specific
and demanding audiences and purposes.
 In the arts, the composing/performing of a sophisticated
piece.
59
Reflection
Select one to discuss with a partner.
What assessments are your staff members
using to measure student progress?
As a leader in your school district, what do
you need to focus on in relation to assessing
standards?
60
According to
Wiggins and McTighe (I):
“The goal of curriculum is not to
take a tour of content, but to
learn to use it, right from the
start. Curriculum is thus
inseparable from valid
performance assessment task
design.”
61
According to
Wiggins and McTighe (II):
“If autonomous transfer and
meaning is the goal, then the
curriculum must be designed from
the start to give you practice in
autonomous transfer and meaningmaking, and make clear via
assessments that this is the goal.”
62
According to
Wiggins and McTighe (III):
“An academic curriculum must
be more like the curriculum in
law, design, medicine, music,
athletics, and early literacy:
focused from the start on
masterful performance as the
goal.”
63
According to
Wiggins and McTighe (IV):
“The most basic flaw in the writing of conventional
school curriculum is that it is too often divorced from
the ultimate accomplishments desired. Thus, we
advise educators to design the assessment system
first…We are speaking of ‘desired performances,’
authentic performances that embody the mission and
program goals. Think of them as cornerstone
performances reflective of the key challenges and
accomplishments of the subject, the essence of ‘doing’
the subject with core content.”
64
65
What Are the Elements
of an Effective
Curriculum System?
Ensuring
horizontal, vertical, and
spiraling articulation.
Eliminating areas of misalignment and
achievement gaps.
66
To What Extent Has Your District
Ensured the Following?

Horizontal Curriculum Elements: Within a grade level or grading
period, required learning results are manageable, conceptually
organized, learner-appropriate and complementary.

Vertical Curriculum Elements: Across grade levels, learning results
ensure that students build upon prior learning and prepare for
subsequent learning requirements at later grade levels.

Spiral Curriculum Elements: Core competencies (e.g., “metaskills”) and conceptual understandings are revisited through
multiple grade levels, with learners demonstrating growing levels
of proficiency and insight.
67
To What Extent Is There Alignment
in Your Curriculum?
The Ideal and the
Organic
The Taught
The Written
The Supported
The Tested/
Assessed
The Learned
68
The Levels of an Effective
Curriculum Management System
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
The Ideal: The principles and values articulated in mission and
vision statements.
The Organic: The verbalized but unwritten values espoused by
teachers and administrators.
The Written: Curriculum guides, frameworks, scope and
sequence documents, units, lessons.
The Tested/Assessed: The components of the written curriculum
that are formally evaluated via testing.
The Taught: The content teachers actually present and expect
students to learn.
The Supported: Resources that support curriculum delivery,
including schedules, materials, and training.
The Learned: What students actually learn and accomplish as a
result of participating in the curriculum management system.
69
…So What Can We
Do About It?





Come to consensus about standards.
Develop a true core curriculum emphasizing depth,
not breadth.
Determine desired results that emphasize
understanding, not just knowledge-recall.
Use a range of assessment tools to create a “photo
album,” not a snapshot, of student achievement.
Develop instructional activities only after you have
determined your desired results and assessment
evidence.
70
To What Extent Has Your District
Accomplished the Following? (I)
1.
Articulated what all students should be able to
know, do, and understand by the end of each grade
level and each grading period?
2. Provided ongoing professional development to
ensure that all staff members, parents, and students
are in consensus about these content standards?
3. Ensured that its curriculum is “mapped” in such a
way that instructors have the time to teach for deep
understanding?
71
To What Extent Has Your District
Accomplished the Following? (II)
4. Used this mapping process to organize the curriculum
conceptually via big ideas, enduring understandings,
and essential questions?
5. Designed performance standards and related
benchmark assessments (both standardized and
teacher-designed) to monitor students’ longitudinal
progress in relationship to these desired results?
72
Going Deeper: To What Extent Do You
Have the Following in Place? (III)
1.
Develop and use appropriate diagnostic assessments
in all courses/grade levels (pre-tests and ongoing
feedback against desired results)?
2.
Have subject-area committees produce valid and peerreviewed lists of “assessment tasks” around which the
curriculum will be written and by which the teaching of
content will be shaped?
3. Design and implement recurring tasks and rubrics
related to key performance tasks related to mission and
long-term program goals?
73
Going Deeper: To What Extent Do You
Have the Following in Place? (IV)
4.
Regularly check the gap between the intended,
implemented, and attained curriculum in terms of
student achievement on authentic tasks and tests?
5.
Have department/grade-level teams analyze student
achievement deficits in light of cornerstone
assessment tasks, and collaboratively plan
improvement activities?
74
Reflection:
Discuss with a partner.
Return to Slide 3. Use the bullets
listed under Content to synthesize the
major concepts related to unpacking
standards and applying these
concepts to curriculum design.
 Questions/Comments?

75
Selected References









Brandt, R.S. (ed). (2000). Education in a new era. Alexandria, VA:
Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
Brooks, J. and M. Brooks. (1993). The search of understanding: The case
for constructivist classrooms. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision
and Curriculum Development
Bruner, J.S. (1960). The process of education. Cambridge, MA: Harvard
University Press.
Glatthorn, A.A. (1998). Performance assessment and standards-based
curriculum. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum
Development
Littky, D. (2004). The big picture: Education is everybody’s business.
Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development
Marzano, J.R. (2003). What works in schools: Translating research into
action. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum
Development
Pelligrino, J.M., N. Chudowsky, and R. Glaser. (eds.) (2001) How people
learn: Brain, mind, experiences, and school. Washington D.C.: National
Academy Press.
Stigler, J.W and J. Hiebert. (1999). The teaching gap: Best ideas from the
world’s teachers for improving education in the classroom. New York:: The
Free Press.
Wiggins, G, and J. McTighe. (2005). Understanding by design. Alexandria,
VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
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