2. Evaluate Grade Level Standards and Evidence Outcomes
There are over 1,200 evidence outcomes and other detailed descriptors in the Colorado Academic Standards for Mathematics. That is too many to be able to teach each with fidelity. Which descriptors are essential to master in order to be prepared for the next grade? Which descriptors might not be essential, but are still important and should be taught with fidelity? Are there any descriptors that can be identified as not a priority so that a little more time can be spent ensuring mastery at sufficient depth and complexity of the essential descriptors? These are the questions teachers answered during this process.
Teachers spent time reviewing each and every detailed descriptor in the standards for their grade level and identified each as being essential (mastery expected to be ready for the next grade level), important (should be taught with fidelity but not all students will necessarily reach mastery but will attain a foundation needed for further growth in the skill/concept), and not a priority. Although only a small percentage of descriptors were labelled as not a priority, giving teachers permission to set aside a few of standards descriptors to allow more focus on the very important essential ones is helpful in creating a viable curriculum that truly supports student math growth.
The ratings were done in a master Google Spreadsheet accessible by teachers, and the labels are automatically imported into teacher's Unit Guides when the relevant standard descriptors are selected for the unit. If a teacher decides to change the label for a descriptor (bump it up to higher importance, for example) she or he can do that, as an important feature of this curriculum is it can be adjusted as needed in real time as teachers reflect on data demonstrating it's effectiveness and areas needing improvement.