Theeducation sector has gone through different types of reforms that areintended to benefit all stakeholders, including the students andeducators. The standard-based learning is one of the latest types ofreform. These reforms were initiated in order to ensure that allstudents are given an opportunity to achieve the same academicstandards and goals (Voltz, Sims & Nelson, 2016). This paper is areflection on the standard-driven learning. The paper will focus onthe impact of standards, their application, and their effect onleadership.
Theknowledge gained from the courses has enhanced my understanding ofthe critical role that standards play in the sector. This knowledgehas changed my view about the role of these standards in PK-12 byhelping see them as tools that create an equal platform for alllearners to achieve their academic goals. For example, the learningprocess that applies the same assessment and instructional standardsensures that all students (including those with disabilities) acquirethe similar knowledge and level of competence (Steiner, 2016). Inaddition, the standards enhance equality by ensuring that theknowledge and skills that students should achieve at specific levelsare clear, irrespective of the learners’ health, demographic, andsocial characteristics.
Thedevelopment of educational standards has impacted the role ofeducators in many ways, but two of them are more significant. First,educators are expected to increase the level of collaboration whendelivering course content and assessing learners. The collaborationis expected to take place through co-teaching and problem solving(Voltz, Sims & Nelson, 2016). Therefore, educators have a role indetermining their respective skills gaps and asking for teachers withthe special knowledge to assist them in delivering parts of thecourse content. Secondly, educators have a role in resolving the softbigotry that is associated with lower expectations for minority,poor, and disabled students. Students who belong to these specialgroups have always expected to be treated in special ways andassessed differently due to their circumstances. However, thestandards expect all learners to acquire the same level ofcompetence. Therefore, educators are expected to deliver the contentin a manner that will enhance this equity.
Theknowledge gained about the standards-driven requirements will improvestudents’ achievement by making the graduation requirementsrigorous for all learners. The educator will be able to help thestudents understand that the standards apply to all of them,irrespective of the challenges (including the socioeconomic anddisabilities) that they go through in life (Voltz, Sims & Nelson,2016). Most importantly, it will be possible for the educator toinform learners how the standards have set clear expectations for allof them. Therefore, students will be pursuing pre-determined learninggoals, which will contribute towards an increase in theirperformance.
Internalalignment of curriculum, assessment, and instructions is one of themost helpful strategies. Internal alignment ensures that theclassroom assessment as well as instructional strategies reflects theintent and the language of the educational standards (Drakes &Burns, 2016). It allows educators to decode performance requirementsand unpack the standards. This alignment strategy also makes it easyfor the educator to read the standards and ensure that all theirpieces are connected to the actual learning experiences. Addition,internal alignment is classified as the most interactive strategysince it requires the participation of students and educators. Forexample, the standards that require students to design and conduct anexperiment should compel the educator to ensure that learners take anactive role in preparation of the lab tests, instead of reading booksand responding to questions (Drakes & Burns, 2016). Therefore,the internal alignment strategy is more helpful since it encouragesparticipation and the achievement of the educational standards.External alignment, on the other hand, ensures that curriculum,assessment, and instructions and consistent with the mandated testingobjectives and standards (Drakes & Burns, 2016). This alignmentstrategy is helpful because it ensures that learners acquire theconcepts as well as skills that are stipulated in the educationalstandards.
Theinternal alignment strategy will be implemented by unpacking theeducational standards and involving learners to achieve their meaningand requirements (Drakes & Burns, 2016). The results of this typeof alignment will be measured by surveying the impact of each pieceof standard on learners’ experience. The external alignmentstrategy will be implemented by comparing the course content withspecific standards in order to ensure that the required skills andconcepts are captured. The results of this assessment will bemeasured through the formal assessment where students will answer aset of questions that are designed to test their understanding of thekey concepts that are highlighted in the educational standards.
Theknowledge gained about the standards-driven learning will help mebecome a more effective instructional leader by enabling me tounderstand and align the required achievement with the course contentthat is delivered in every class. The knowledge will be instrumentalin helping me to design the course outline that meets allrequirements that are indicated in the standards, thus ensuring thatmy students acquire the knowledge as well as the skills that they areexpected to have in every level of academic achievement (Voltz, Sims& Nelson, 2016). In addition, the knowledge has helped toappreciate the significance of collaborating with other educators andfacilitating the learners’ participation, which will enable me tobecome a more effective instructional leader, who has the capacity toaccommodate all stakeholders.
Ican assume two leadership roles at my school in order to facilitate amove towards the standard-driven environment. The first role involvesfostering of a collaborative culture that supports the educators`development as well as student teaching (Darling-Hammond, York-Barr &Gaston, 2015). By promoting the environment of trust, collegiality,and respect, it will be possible to empower all stakeholdersinterpret the standards in the same way and implement them as a team.Secondly, I will promote professional learning that seeks to enhancecontinuous improvement. An effective teacher-leader is expected todesign, promote, and facilitate professional learning that isjob-embedded and aligned with the improvement goals that arestipulated in the educational standards. This role is based on theneed to empower educators in order to ensure that they comprehend thesignificance of the standards-driven learning.
Oneof the key strategies that can help students master the standards iscontinuous research and training. An effective teacher leader isexpected to apply a systematic inquiry as an important component ofthe educators’ ongoing development and learning (Darling-Hammond,York-Barr & Gaston, 2015). Research helps educators identify gapsin the students’ knowledge of the educational standards, thushelping them design strategies that will address specific weaknesses.In addition, the teacher leader can enhance the students’understanding of the goals by promoting the use of data andassessment to make informed decisions. The use of data enables allteachers to identify standards that students do not comprehend andthe most effective tools that can be used to enhance theirunderstanding.
Thereare several development opportunities that can be used to informothers about the standards-driven learning. For example,collegiality, which can be enhanced at the school level throughmeetings that focus on discussions on standards-driven learning, cancreate a platform for educators to share their knowledge andexperiences (Darling-Hammond, York-Barr & Gaston, 2015). This isa simple way of helping educators learn new ideas from each other. Inaddition, the creation of platforms (such as journal clubs) withinthe school or the district can allow educators to review the researchevidence on the success of the standard-driven standards in enhancingthe learners’ achievement.
Thestandards-driven learning is among the most significant educationalreforms that are being implemented to benefit the teacher andstudents. These reforms will go a long way in enhancing the level ofefficiency of educators in delivering the course content. They willalso increase the learners’ academic achievement. Most importantly,the reforms will ensure that all learners have an equal chance toacquire the same level of knowledge and skills, irrespective ofwhether they come from the minority groups.
Darling-Hammond,L., York-Barr, J. & Gaston, M. (2015). Teacher leader modelstandards: Teacher leadership exploratory consortium. TeacherLeadership Standards.Retrieved November 5, 2016, fromhttp://www.teacherleaderstandards.org/downloads/TLS_Brochure_sm.pdf
Drakes,M. & Burns, C. (2016). Meeting standards through integratingcurriculum. ASCD.Retrieved November 5, 2016, fromhttp://www.ascd.org/publications/books/103011/chapters/Using-Standards-to-Integrate-the-Curriculum.aspx
Steiner,J. (2016). Why have a standards-based curriculum and what are theimplications for the teaching-learning-assessment process? EnglishTeacher Association.Retrieved November 5, 2016, fromhttp://www.etni.org.il/red/etninews/issue4/whystandard.html#Standards
Voltz,L., Sims, M. & Nelson, B. (2016). Connecting teachers, students,and standards. ASCD.Retrieved November 5, 2016, fromhttp://www.ascd.org/publications/books/109011/chapters/[email protected]_Teaching_in_Diverse,_Standards-Based_Classrooms.aspx