Monday, February 16, 2009

Success! Standards 2.0

As I discussed in my previous post, my school's been working to revise our standards-based academic system. Despite all the bumps in the road, it appears that we've come up with a solution that achieved significant consensus - far more so than any of us working on this project ever thought possible. I'm embedding another GooDocs Presentation below to show what we came up with. Not mentioned in the presentation is that we've also been working to revise our curricular standards; instead of keeping with the Maine Learning Results as we've had since the beginning, we looked at the new state standards (Parameters...) as well as national standards, and then, through a combination of elimination and/or synthesis, came up with 3 - 5 content standards for each course that we offer. We'll continue to grade each standard, and to set expectations for student learning relative to each standard as well as to the grade that the student will earn for the course. We'll also combine all of our individual academic initiative standards (homework, participation, attendance, and extended assignments) into one standard that will have an impact on the course grade. Although it's not perfect, it's a much more understandable system that remains standards-based in all regards.


  1. Thank you for sharing this. It is interesting to see what you have developed. Will you implement these ideas immediately or in the fall? I'm curious about the number of students in a teachers course load. Such individualized feedback seems overwhelming when I see nearly 85 students each day.
    This also brings up interesting challenges. What if a student meets a standard at the beginning of a course? Do students test into each course so they are at the appropriate level? I am thinking of a discussion recently on The Principal's Page Blog about mixed-age grade levels.
    Thank you for sharing this discussion.

  2. Thanks for the comment, Magistra! Our plan is to implement these ideas in the fall when the new school year begins, primarily because of the change in the content standards. In our current semester-block schedule, the average teacher probably sees about 50 - 60 students per day (though the number varies quite significantly) ... providing such detailed and individualized feedback for our students is definitely time-consuming, but I think we're already pretty acclimated to that level of commitment - we just want to improve the quality of what we're already doing. Students don't necessarily "test" into their levels of study - teachers / counselors provide recommendations, but we tend to let students & parents make that choice. We also allow level changes beyond the add/drop period ... that way under- and over-placed students can be placed more appropriately (which I guess is what you're getting at with the question on a student being able to meet expectations from the beginning of the course...?). Could you provide a link to the blog you refer to - it sounds like an interesting discussion on a very similar topic!