August 30, 2012

5 Steps to Creating Successful Common Core Scales for Student Learning

Aligning your learning goals with scales helps keep students focused on Common Core standards

Make the connection between the Marzano Taxonomy and Common Core State Standards for the most effective assessments of student learning

I was having a conversation with some educator friends recently.  We were talking about effective classroom strategies and the conversation led to the creation of learning goals and scales.  These educators were confident with creating learning goals from the Common Core State Standards, but they struggled a little with creating scales that related to those standards, and making sure they differentiate for the students they have in their classrooms.

I suggested a five-step process for creating scales that align with their learning goals. 

Step 1:  Create your learning goal.

The first step is to create your target learning goal from your content standards. For most, that means the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).  The CCSS lend themselves well to creating learning goals.

Target Learning Goal Example:  RI.5.3. Explain the relationships or interactions between two or more individuals, events, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text based on specific information in the text.  (This is a Reading for Informational Text, Grade 5 CCSS Standard.)Step 2:  Place the learning goal at the 3.0 position on the scale.

Place that exact learning goal in the 3.0 or proficient (meets the standard) spot in your scale.  This is the target learning goal for the majority of students in the class.  In this case the target learning goal is at the Comprehension level of Marzano’s TaxonomyStep 3:  Create a more complex learning goal and place it in the 4.0 position.

Create a more complex learning goal that uses the same content idea as your target learning goal but raises the level of thinking required. To do this, use the PDF of Marzano’s Taxonomy, Useful Verbs.  At 4.0, the highest level of the scale, the learning goal should be in the top two levels of the taxonomy – Analysis and Knowledge Utilization. Both of the examples below are at the Analysis level.

Example #1 Analysis at 4.0 Level: Explain the relationships or interactions between two or more individuals, events, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text based on specific information in the text anddetermine what inferences can be made based on this information

Example #2 Analysis at 4.0 Level Explain the relationships or interactions between two or more individuals, events, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text based on specific information in the text, and compare and contrast these individuals, events, ideas or concepts.Step 4:  Create a simpler learning goal and place it in the 2.0 position.

Create a more simplified learning goal that uses the same content ideas as your target learning goal.  Again, you can use Marzano’s Taxonomy to help you.  In this case, the 2.0 learning goal should be at the first level of the taxonomy – Retrieval.

Example of Retrieval at 2.0 Level:

Describe an individual, event, idea, or concept in a historical, scientific, or technical text based on specific information in the text.Step 5:  1.0 and 0 do not have learning goals associated but are representative of a student’s performance or lack of performance.

You now have a scale for the Common Core ELA standard RI.5.3.  This process really helped these educators create scales aligned with their learning goals.

Does this process help you as you create scales aligned to your learning goals?  Do you have a different process for creating scales? Share your ideas in the comments section or ask us a question. We’re standing by to answer!





This concise post is a great way to help explain the creation of scales to go along with goals!  It makes a complex task seem “doable” and will help us all as we move into the new standards!

By Connie West on 2012 08 31

Thank you for this step by step example. I feel this will help aid our teachers in creating effective and useful scales to accompany their learning golas.

By Jennifer Norris on 2013 05 24

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