Prairie Lakes Area Education Agency

Are students engaged in deep learning aligned to the standard?

From Jaymie Randel, PLAEA Coaching Coordinator...I hope you find these resources helpful and would appreciate hearing your thoughts. Might there be some interest in having a workday to examine tasks students in your schools are being asked to do, identify implications for teachers and students, and plan next steps. If so, please contact me.

Many educators from various districts have expressed concern regarding the lack of alignment between standards and student tasks. A study conducted by TNTP found that most students, especially students of color, low-income students, students with disabilities, and English language learners spend the majority of their time in school without access to four critical resources:

Consistent opportunities to work on grade-appropriate assignments

Strong instruction, where students do the majority of the thinking in class

Deep engagement in what they are learning

Teachers who hold high expectations for students and who believe they can meet grade-level standards

It seems that an outcome of teacher leadership should be to increase the amount of time students spend in school with access to these four critical resources.

TNTP’s Student Work Library provides examples of weakly, partially, and strongly aligned tasks along with the rationale. There are also protocols to  use that support teachers and  leaders in answering the question, “Does this task give students the opportunity to meaningfully engage in worthwhile grade-level content?”

The examples in the Student Work Library could help teachers see the difference between tasks that are aligned to the standards and those that are not. The protocols could be used to examine student tasks to answer the questions, “Are our students experiencing strongly, partially, or weakly aligned tasks?” “How are students spending a majority of their time?”


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