Question 4: How do you create performance indicators from the proficiency statement?

Conceptual Overview

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Presentation Audio Transcript

Text-based Reflection

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Read "What exactly do 'fewer, clearer, and higher standards' really look like in the classroom?" by Hess, Carlock, Jones, and Walkup. 

Answer the following questions:

  • How can we use the rigor matrix to help us evaluate proficiency language?
  • What are the dangers of too many performance indicators?
  • How can we use transferable skills to help us create a system with "fewer, clearer and higher standards?"

Practice the Process

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Examine the Maine DOE’s “Design Criteria Chart: Defining Performance Indicators for Content-Area Reporting Standards”.

Write a set of performance indicators in the form of "I can..." statements, using your ideas from Question 2 about what is looks like and sounds like for a senior in high school to be successful when speaking. Refer to CCSS Speaking and Listening Standards as you connect the performance indicators to standards.

Adopt and Adapt

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Examine the Maine DOE’s “Design Criteria Chart: Defining Performance Indicators for Content-Area Reporting Standards”.
Examine Vermont's sample proficiency language below for speaking and listening:

  • Speaking and Listening: Present information, findings and supporting evidence conveying a clear and distinct perspective.
  1. Develop a clear line of reasoning. (4)
  2. Address alternative or opposing perspectives. (4)
  3. Use appropriate organization, development, style, and substance appropriate to a range of purposes and audiences for both formal and informal tasks. (4)
  4. Make strategic use of digital media in presentations to enhance understanding of findings, reasoning, and evidence and to add interest. (5)
  5. Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and tasks, demonstrating a command of formal English when indicated or appropriate. (6)

Answer the below questions. It might be helpful to refer to CCSS Speaking and Listening Standards for this exercise:

  • Does this language make sense for your school?
  • What would you add, change, or delete?
  • Will teachers and students need more information to help them understand the indicators? How could you communicate this information?

Case Study Analysis

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Read the case study below:

A New Way School District and Backward Design School District are consolidating to create a new school union. Both districts have been working diligently over the last few years to ensure they meet the goals of Vermont EQS but took different paths.

A New Way started their personalized learning journey by implementing Personalized Learning Plans. They developed a robust process of implementation and students created individual learning goals based on Common Core State Standards. Each fall, students chose two academic goals in Math and English to include in their PLP. At the end of the year, students compiled evidence of meeting their goal, wrote a reflection, and wrote a letter to their future selves to be read at the start of the next school year. The PLP was now a part of the culture of the district, but students were limited to learning goals. Recognizing that a proficiency-based assessment system would address this issue, A New Way started the proficiency writing process last year.

Backward Design started their journey by developing a proficiency-based assessment system first. They felt that personalized learning would mean more if students could write learning goals around proficiency language they could understand. After three years of development, implementation, and refinement in a cycle of continuous improvement, they were generally happy with their system and were getting good feedback from teachers, students, and parents.

As the districts began the consolidation process, each prepared a presentation about Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment at their district to the consolidation committee. The consolidation committee was made up of teachers and administrators from both districts. They then began the process of figuring out next steps to move forward as one new union.

The members from A New Way were very proud of their initial work in proficiency development, although they had not progressed very far. They wanted to continue with their work and their vision. They resisted adopting the proficiency language of Backward Design so much that stepping forward as one new union looked impossible. When pressed about their resistance, A New Way teachers said they did not understand Backward Design proficiency language and did not agree with its overall structure. They also noted the Backward Design looked at standards to help them write their proficiency language, but did not reference research-based practices, which they thought was very important.

Answer the following questions:

  • What are some possible next steps to ensure the union can move forward together?
  • How can A New Way be part of the cycle of continuous improvement Backward Design has developed?

More Resources

Watch the Great Schools Partnership’s "Proficiency-Based Learning Simplified: Developing Effective Graduation Standards and Performance Indicators" for a webinar about how to chose the skills and concepts at the heart of a discipline.

Evidence of Learning

Be sure to record your answers to the above questions in the Evidence of Learning Tool.

Continue this Self-Paced Course

Question 5: How do you scaffold a proficiency so that there’s a viable path for student success?

Browse other questions: Developing and Applying Proficiencies

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