Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Customizing the Common Core: Making Mastery Connect ...Connect

Customizing the Common Core: Making Mastery Connect ...Connect

Read the following Common Core Standard:

1. Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.
  1. Introduce claim(s), acknowledge and distinguish the claim(s) from alternate or opposing claims, and organize the reasons and evidence logically.
  2. Support claim(s) with logical reasoning and relevant evidence, using accurate, credible sources and demonstrating an understanding of the topic or text.
  3. Use words, phrases, and clauses to create cohesion and clarify the relationships among claim(s), counterclaims, reasons, and evidence.
  4. Establish and maintain a formal style.
  5. Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the argument presented.
 Look familiar? I am sure that the ELA teachers can just about quote it verbatim by now.  This is ONE standard, but look at the components.  It is one thing when a standard has multiple components that seem to build on one another, but when I look at W.8.1 I see a standard that is more of a salad bowl than a melting pot.  The sub-standards seem so discrete to me that they could almost be their own standards altogether.  Which is exactly what my student's performance shows, for they may be selecting high-quality evidence, generating middling reasons, and failing entirely to include a counterclaim.  How can I give them one score to indicate the mastery of this standard when their performance is so varied? Do I err on the side of their strengths, or do I tie their rating to their areas of need?  I am no longer interested in choosing between one or the other.  I want to get actionable data for each piece of the puzzle.

Mastery Connect can be used to truly report student's progress for even the most minute sub-standard, even if the Common Core Standard does not yet exist.  Can't find the standard(s) you want, or can't generate meaningful data around specific skills that your students struggle to master?  Make them up!

1.) Go to your curriculum map, locate a particular unit, and find the offending standard within that unit.

2.) Open the "Lines" menu and select, "Add Sub Standard"

3.) Maybe you'll get lucky and there will be suggestions or pre-existing sub standard, but I just went for the DIY option right away

4.) For the sake of organization and consistency, you are best off observing the same naming convention already established by the CCSS creators.  I simply appended my new sub standard with a letter that corresponded to the order it is listed in the description of the "parent" standard.  Then I borrowed the original CCSS language for the "Short Description".

5.) Create!

6.) Once you have created you new "custom" sub standard it will show up in the curriculum map nested under its "parent" standard.  Now you are free to create assessments that specifically target that sub standard, or break down any assessment of the parent standard into its constituent parts to get a clearer sense of what your students can actually do.

This more nuanced view of the data allows for instant small group, targeted, instruction that will address precisely what students need.

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