STANDARDS BASED REFORM INITIATIVE
- What should our students know and be able to do before they graduate from our schools?
- How do we respond if they donít achieve the standards weíve established?
These two questions are at the core of an extensive reform initiative in Stratfordís secondary schools. Stratfordís School-to-Career goal serves as the impetus for this systemic change and involves changing our classrooms from teacher directed to student centered and providing learning in the context of authentic tasks. Technology supports this effort.
Secondary district administrators have been meeting for the past year to achieve consensus on a district vision for accomplishing our goals. Each secondary department has been actively involved in establishing standards for the content area and in developing related assessments.
These standards are geared to support our district mission statement.
To develop a community of learners in which ALL students acquire the knowledge, skills and confidence to meet the challenges of a changing and increasingly diverse society.
All of this work will help prepare the high schools for the next New England Association of Secondary Schools (NEASC) evaluation. Ultimately the goal is to enhance student learning and increase student achievement. However, a mission statement and standards are merely rhetoric without the following:
- A strong curricular foundation
- A creative instructional delivery system
- Identified points in time when students will be assessed on the standards (benchmarks)
- A multi-faceted approach to assessment
- Specific rubrics developed to standardize the scoring of these assessments.
To better understand this work it is helpful to have a common vocabulary. The following list includes some terms related to this initiative and their definitions.
- Standard: What the student needs to know or be able to do.
- Performance Standard: How well the student needs to perform to achieve the standard.
- Benchmark: Defines the point in time in a studentís academic career when the student is expected to demonstrate achievement of a standard.
- Performance Task: A task, project or problem designed to elicit a performance that can be assessed.
- Performance Assessment: A measurement of the studentís ability to achieve a standard.
- Rubric: Predetermined criteria to assist in the scoring of a performance assessment. This rubric is known to both teachers and students prior to the administration of a performance assessment.
While this reform initiative is centered at the secondary level, it is aligned with the extensive efforts at the elementary level to define literacy standards in all disciplines for all elementary students. Both efforts predict success for Stratford students. For more information related to this project, contact any supervisor, secondary building administrator.
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