About the Post

Author Information

Assistant Superintendent

Getting to Proficiency Post 7: Defining our Graduation Standards

In defining the graduation standards for a proficiency based diploma in our school system, we need to identify two sets of standards: Content Area Graduation Standards (CAGS) and Cross-curricular Graduation Standards (CCGS).  As we discussed in last week’s meeting, the cross-curricular standards are our first priority because they are also required for NEASC at the high school.

Cross curricular Graduation Standards = 21st Century Learning Expectations
  (Maine Proficiency Based Diploma)                                                                  (NEASC)

The Guiding Principles outlined in the Maine Learning Results are a mix of various educational outcomes.  We need to articulate each of these and any other needed outcomes as a set of Cross-curricular graduation standards, standards, and performance indicators that we can use for our Cross-curricular graduation standards and as the 21st century learning expectations required by NEASC at the high school level.

Here are the operational definitions of some of these terms, which quite frankly, are used differently in many documents and information sources.

NEASC 21st Century Learning Expectations- are challenging and measurable 21st century learning expectations for all students which address academic, social, and civic competencies and are defined by school-wide analytic rubrics that identify targeted high levels of achievement.

Cross-curricular Graduation Standards (CCGS)— are aligned with the Guiding Principles and describe the most essential skills and habits of work that students will need to succeed in adult life.  They should be clear, measurable statements of what students will know and be able to do in order to be considered “educated” or “proficient” at graduation.

  • CCGSs are larger than any one standard or outcome captured in the MLR or Common Core documents.
  • CCGSs should be clearly tied to these standards.
  • CCGSs should be tied to our mission and beliefs about what a graduate should be able to demonstrate.
  • CCGSs should apply across many content areas and grade spans.
  • CCGSs must describe measurable outcomes that can be assessed with a body of evidence.

Content Area Graduation Standards (CAGS)- are aligned with the MLRs and describe the most essential content-specific knowledge and skills that students will need to succeed in adult life.  They should be clear, measurable statements of what students will know and be able to do in order to be considered “educated” or “proficient” at graduation.

  • CAGSs are larger than any one standard or outcome captured in the MLR and Common Core documents.  They should combine several standards into one graduation standard.
  • CAGSs should be clearly aligned to the MLR and Common Core standards.
  • CAGSs should be tied to our mission and beliefs about what a graduate should be able to demonstrate and know.
  • CAGSs should emphasize content-specific knowledge and skills that are robust, timeless, and applicable across multiple contexts.
  • CAGSs should require students to develop an understanding of relationships among principles, theories, and/or concepts.
  • CAGSs should require students to demonstrate higher-order cognitive skills (appropriate rigor).
  • CAGSs should use precise, descriptive language that clearly communicates what is essential to understanding the content area.
  • CAGS must describe measurable outcomes that can be assessed with a body of evidence.

Performance Indicators (PIs)– are aligned with the MLRs and provide more detailed description of what it means to meet a graduation standard.  Achievement of performance indicators may be determined using summative assessments (performances).  Over time a student’s aggregate performance on these summative assessments determine whether performance indicators are met.

  • PIs are tied to specific standards from the MLRs.
  • PIs should be observable and measurable in single assessments at the classroom level.
  • PIs define the specific knowledge and skills that will be assessed and measured.
  • PIs should promote multiple and varied options for students to demonstrate evidence of learning.

In the next post I will share the process we will use as a committee to work on our Cross-curricular graduation standards.

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: