Using the Common Core Standards to Inform Instruction

The Common Core Learning Standards cover this much:

I ——————————————————————————————————————————————————— I

The Common Core aligned assessments cover less than half of the CCL standards:

I ———————————————————– I

And, the state releases a small amount of the test for teachers and administrators to analyze:

I ——————– I

Also keep in mind, what gets tested is not always the most important.

This afternoon I attended a research seminar led by Dr. Brenda Myers, Superintendent of Valhalla Schools and former Superintendent of Groton Central School District both in New York State. Myers is an applied researcher in the areas of teaching, learning, and leadership development. The aim of the research seminar was to analyze the New York State English Language Arts test items to determine (1) the cognitive demand and instructional implications of the test; (2) the predictability and alignment of the test items to the Common Core Learning Standards; and (3) effective learning strategies for using the score reports and sample items to improve instruction.

Here is what I will do as a result of attending the seminar:

Teachers need to understand the standards in order to apply the standards in their classrooms. It is one thing to give teachers a copy of the CCLS and have the Core App on an iPad, it is another thing to ask teachers to create their own cheat sheet for the standards by grade level work. First, I will have teachers go through the standards and record the standards that they are already covering in their classrooms and what are the standards that they have been ignoring. Second, I will require that teachers create their own one page document of the grade level standards relevant to their classroom instruction.

During departmental meetings teachers need to have grade level conversations about what we want students to know and do, how teachers will teach and how students will be assessed. Teachers need to make sure they are covering all the standards including speaking, listening, and collaboration. Many teachers are teaching to the test, and teachers must be careful of how much of their understanding of the standards is based on the state aligned assessments.

Look at the New York State released ELA test questions aligned with the CCLS: What are students expected to know? What are students expected to do? Where might they find difficulty within the reading passage or the question itself? Identify the standard that the test question is addressing, the distractors in the questions and answers, and the skill being tested. Collaborate with other teachers to create a toolbox of instructional practices to help support our students as readers, writers, and critical thinkers.

Try giving students three questions about a text and have them write out their answers. Then, the following day, give students the same questions as multiple choice questions and let them use their original answers to help them answer the multiple choice questions. This strategy helps students do their own item analysis and identify the plausibility of distractors.

Tagged , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: