When TPS educators were surveyed in November, 2016, it was determined that due to the high number of standards per content area and grade, teachers were prioritizing what standards to teach and assess as individuals or in teams. This was because the number of Washington State Learning Standards for each content area was just too overwhelming.
In order to ensuring every student has equitable access to learning opportunities directly related to the skills and content in the WSLS, the district is taking a more strategic approach to align content standards by grade level. Under the leadership of the Curriculum and Instruction department, TPS educators are working in K-12 content teams to identify priority standards as well as supporting standards. The process began in February, 2017 and will continue each year for three years until all content areas are prioritized.
The criteria used to identify which standards are priority includes:
- Endurance: Those standards that provide students with knowledge and skills beyond a single test date.
- Leverage: Those standards that provide knowledge and skills that will be of value in multiple disciplines (example non-fiction writing).
- Readiness: Those standards that provide knowledge and skills that are necessary for success in the next grade or level of instruction.
- External Exams: State and national exams are brought in as a 4th lens during the prioritization process. This includes the Smarter Balance Assessment, Advanced Placement exams, International Baccalaureate exams, etc.
Accordion Feedback Process
An accordion process is used to obtain feedback on the determined priority standards. All teachers who teach and assess each set of content standards have the opportunity to provide their feedback. Prioritization teams review feedback from their colleagues at large, refine and make adjustments as appropriate, and make recommendations for the final rollout of prioritized standards. This accordion process is conducted (3) times for each content area as the standards are prioritized.
This protocol is based on Larry Ainsworth’s Framework for Prioritizing Standards.