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Identifying Power Standards

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A common complaint I hear among my colleagues is that we are focusing too much to teaching to the test and that we are never able to finish all of the standards in time for the state exam.  A few months ago, I attended a standards based workshop to discuss power standards and unwrapping the standards.

What are power standards? Power standards are a select amount of standards that you will focus on throughout the year.  The power standards are those that you guarantee your students will master by the end of the year.  This moves instruction away from the “mile wide, inch deep” concept.

How do you determine your power standards? It can be very difficult to narrow your instruction for the year down to a few standards.  It is important to focus on three things when determining your power standards:

  1. What will students need to know to be successful in life?
  2. What will students need to know to be successful in school?
  3. What will students need to know to be successful on the state test?

Whatever standard you select to be a power standard should fit all three criteria.  Before I looked at my state standards, I thought that this would be difficult.  Once I started, the process went by very smoothly and it became very obvious which standards were to be my power standards.

Narrowing my standards have given me confidence to the next school year.  I feel good knowing that I can be confident in going deeper in the subject with my students.  To see my biology power standards, click here.

I have not completed my AP Biology power standards as of yet as I am still familiarizing myself with the test setup and standards.  Now that I have my general biology standards narrowed, I can focus on unwrapping the standards.

I really just skimmed the surface on the issue of power standards.  For more information regarding selecting power standards, please read Power Standards: Identifying the Standards that Matter the Most by Larry Ainsworth.

Written by Ashley Erin

June 28, 2010 at 5:00 am

Posted in Curriculum, Standards