Thursday, August 20, 2009

2000 - 2002 Power Standards

Karen Saucedo Principal
Holly Scroggins Assistant Principal
Click on the photo to enlarge.

Power Standards are a systematic method for prioritizing what students should know. The term “Power Standards” was coined by Dr. Douglas Reeves of the Center of Performance Assessment an international organization dedicated to improving student achievement. According to Dr. Robert Marzano (2001) the biggest impediment to implementing standards is the sheer number of standards.

Focusing on learning in a collaborative culture teachers were asked to meet with their grade levels and specialists with their colleagues to develop Power Standards. This collaborative culture was known as Professional Learning Communities or PLC. Teachers were required to meet at least two afternoons a week. Unlike some schools, Alvarado teachers always had a collaborative staff. Most grade levels had worked together for years, so required PLC meetings were unnecessary, but at these meetings there was a certain required protocal. Alvarado teachers spent many hours in PLC meetings and professional development days compiling their power standards. The media specialists also met to develop power standards.

Power Standards were to lead to the in-depth instruction of essential concepts. Reeves and Marzano discovered that 16 to 20 power standards per year for reading, writing, and speaking were the most effective. Power Standards are the subset of all the standards prioritized. All teachers must teach these and all students must learn these before leaving that grade level.

By Dr. Reeves definition, Power Standards are those standards that once mastered give the students the ability to use reasoning and thinking skills to learn and understand other curriculum objectives. However, Alvarado's individualized grade level power standards designed by the classroom teachers were never quite fully utilized in the classroom probably because in 2002 No Child Left Behind became the law and changed the focus of those in charge of education. NCLB changed what schools had to do to keep receiving federal funding, thus changing the landscape of education in the future. There was much to do to comply with NCLB.

However, Marzano's book is one of the action plans in the 5 year Strategic Plan, so the influence of Power Standards (as of this date 2009) still affect classroom instruction. In his book are ten instructional strategies that are most likely to improve student achievement across all content areas and across all grade levels, basically Power Standards. It's under the first strategy:
1.8 Implement the consistent use of the top 10 research-based instructional strategies as described in "Classroom Instruction That Works’’ by Robert Marzano, to improve student achievement and close the achievement gap.

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