As the secondary ELA assessment coordinator for my school district (one of the ten largest in the country…I coordinate over 75 exams!), I have found that the transition from the old standards to the new CCSS (okay, so Florida has the LAFS…yes, the LAFS – but at the secondary level they’re all but identical to the CCSS) has been difficult for teachers in terms of understanding the types of questions they ask students and where those fall on the standards “spectrum,” if you will. In the old standards, students at the secondary level were responsible (largely) for questions asking them to make inferences, draw conclusions, identify devices, etc.
Now, these teachers feel like they’re “not allowed” to ask those types of questions anymore, because they do not demonstrate mastery of the secondary standards – particularly the key ideas/details and craft/structure clusters (1-6). What I’ve been trying to impress upon them, however, is that they should still be asking those questions in class during discussions and in-class assessments. The difference is that they will not see those types of questions on the new state assessments (like PARCC, Smarter Balance, or FSA – for Florida).
I found it extremely helpful (and teachers have agreed) to have a document where the standards are presented vertically. So instead of seeing all the standards for grade 5, standard RL 1 is on a single page and it goes from K-12, so a teacher can see where the question they’re asking falls on the spectrum.
I have found that the majority of the “old style” questions now hover in the grades 2-4 range. Additionally, there are certain grade levels that have very specific caveats (rhetoric, for example, makes an appearance in the upper grades, poetry is emphasized in middle school, etc.), and it is helpful to see where the more generic concepts fall – either prior to or beyond the year of focus. Therefore, I have put together a document for ELA teachers that vertically presents all the RL and RI standards. These are the CCSS (Florida teachers, Hillsborough County has a document for you already…you can search around for it or contact me directly and I can get it to you). I would ideally like to eventually have a document that includes the W, SL, and L standards, but I simply didn’t have time for that this week, and since the Reading standards are the most prevalent (from what I have found, anyway), I went with those. Please leave me feedback about 1) whether or not this document is helpful, 2) if it would be helpful to have the additional standards in a similar document, and 3) if something like this would be useful for the Math standards as well. Enjoy!