FAQs about Standards: Curriculum, Assessments, and Grades
What are standards?
Standards are learning outcomes that describe what a student should know and be able to do in a particular subject at a specific point in time.
How do standards translate into teaching and learning?
Course curriculum is designed by reviewing the Common Core State Standards, ACT College Readiness Standards, and discipline-specific standards like those outlined by the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE). These standards are then synthesized into the most essential learning outcomes and sequenced into units of study for each course. Individual lessons target the relevant standards in a particular unit.
The link below will connect you to the Common Core Standards page for English Language Arts:
The National PTA offers this overview of the Common Core State Standards in the English classroom. Please note their references to the importance of the use of standards, the development of argumentation skills including crafting claims and identifying thoughtful evidence, as well as developing skills in speaking and listening. Each of these is a key component of the York English Department curriculum.
The link below will connect you to ACT’s College Readiness Standards in English:
The link below will connect you to ACT’s College Readiness Standards in writing:
The link below will connect you to ACT’s College Readiness Standards in reading:
What is the purpose of using explicit standards with students?
The use of standards as a basis for curriculum clarifies exactly what students are expected to learn. Because a letter grade is intended to communicate what the student has learned, grades should be comprised of assessments that measure the learning standards rather than including other variables such as attendance, behavior, conscientiousness, effort, or extra credit. Linking standards, assessments, and grades best ensures that the grade that is reported reflects the student’s learning.
Where can I find more information?
“Making High School Grades Meaningful ” by Tom Guskey; chapter 6, “The Last Frontier ” by Ken O’Connor (published in Ahead of the Curve: The Power of Assessment to Transform Teaching and Learning 2007); “Seven Reasons for Standards-Based Grading ” by Patricia Scriffiny; and “Grading What Matters ” by Tony Winger each addresses the purpose of and need for clearly articulated standards and Standards-Based Grading.
Please also review this New York Times article from November, 2010, which provides an overview of the rationale behind standards-based grading.