Getting to Proficiency Post 9: Clear and Effective Communicator

The state of Maine’s Learning Results identifies several Guiding Principles.  One of these principles reads as follows:

A. A Clear and Effective Communication
Standard A: Understands the attributes and techniques that positively impact constructing and conveying meaning for a variety of purposes and through a variety of modes.

A. A clear and effective communicator who:

  • Demonstrates organized and purposeful communication in English and at least one other language
  • Uses evidence and logic appropriately in communication
  • Adjusts communication based on the audience
  • Uses a variety of modes of expression (spoken, written and visual and performing including the use of technology to create and share the expressions)

The standard in bold and the indicators identified by bullets are different from the standards and indicators we see when looking at the content area standards in the MLRs.  They are not amenable to a single assessment in time or place.  They are intended to reflect outcomes developed and assessed over a student’s career.  As such we need to have specificity about what evidence will suffice.

Barbara Greenstone, Jo Haney and I have spent some time trying to apply the process I described in post 8 to design a standard that we could assess multiple times in multiple contexts.  In the end, we crafted the following language.  We are sharing it here as an example of adding language that allows teachers to measure the standard in multiple venues and for multiple products.  This is not the final, nor likely the best, language for this Guiding Principle.  The cross-curricular team will make recommendations on all the Guiding Principles, including this one.  The staff will be asked to reach final consensus on the principle’s language.

A. A Clear and Effective Communication
Standard A: Understands the attributes and techniques that positively impact constructing and conveying meaning for a variety of purposes and through a variety of modes.

A clear and effective communicator who:

  • Demonstrates organized and purposeful communication in English and at least one other language;
  • Uses evidence and logic appropriately in communication;
  • Adjusts communication based on the audience; and
  • Uses a variety of modes of expression (spoken, written, and visual and performing
  • including the use of technology to create and share the expressions);

and creates communications that:

  1. Express ideas and content that are clear and focused with well-defined themes and topics supported by detailed anecdotes or arguments, (Ideas and Content)
  2. Are organized in a logical and compelling manner (Organization)
  3. Reflect a voice that is appropriate for the intended audience and purpose (Voice)
  4. Use words, sounds, images, and actions that have been carefully chosen to convey meaning (Choices)
  5. Flow easily and gracefully with appropriate pacing and cadence (Fluency)
  6. Demonstrate knowledge and skill in the conventions of the medium or genre (Conventions)
  7. Are presented in a form that enhances meaning and engages the audience (Presentation)

For those in the ELA field, you may recognize the broad traits (1-7) listed.  They come from the ideas captured in the 6+1 traits of writing framework.  After discussing the meaning of the standard (in bold) and thinking about the qualities that indicate effective communication, we recognized that our list was similar to the 6+1 framework.  Looking at the framework closely, we recognized that these traits apply to most forms of communication (oral, written, digital forms, video, etc.).  The language was changed to apply to any form of communication likely to be asked of students in their career.

For instance indicator 6 reads, “demonstrates knowledge and skill in the conventions of the medium or genre”.  The conventions may be different for a speech, short story, or video, but conventions are important for each medium.   The power of identifying cross-curricular standards and indicators is in helping students develop an understanding that attention to a trait such as the conventions of the medium is critical for effective communication.  (Think of how many power points you have seen with text pasted into the slides. A failed attempt to apply the conventions of writing to the medium of a slide show.  We need to help students understand that the medium’s strengths depend upon an understanding of its’ conventions).  We submit these as an attempt to take the original language of the standard “Clear and Effective Communicator” and draft language that could be applied across disciplines and mediums.

In the next post I will share the rubric aligned to this set of traits.

About shawncarlson

Assistant Superintendent
This entry was posted in Assessment, BRES, BRHS, Curriculum. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Getting to Proficiency Post 9: Clear and Effective Communicator

  1. Karen Cronk says:

    Does anyone out there know any high school graduate that can really do all this? Really? And, that’s just the first one! For me, I’d start with leaving out the “and at least one other language.” (No reflection on our Foreign Language teachers.) and proceed from there. I’m thinking of a set of Guiding Principles that are valuable, short, simple, attainable, meaningful and realistic. Memorable (and of course, measurable) too, so when asked by NEASC to know them, the importance of which we’ve heard from Sherrie, they can remember them, own them…..so BRHS can own them, too. Anyone interested in a brainstorming session? May we create our own or must we go with Maine’s (which Maine?) Guiding Principles? I look forward to seeing the rubric, seriously, I do.

  2. Pingback: Proficiency Leadership Team: Materials for Thursday | Rocky Channels Central Office Blog

  3. Pingback: Clear and Effective Communicator Rubric | Rocky Channels Central Office Blog

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