Georgia Performance Standards

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Georgia Performance Standards


    Performance Standards

    Principal’s Guide for

    School Implementation

Produced by the Curriculum and Instruction Division

    Fulton County Schools

    Summer, 2005

    Table of Contents


Letter from the Superintendent 4

    Why Standards? 5

    Seven Steps for Principals to Follow in Implementing Standards-Based Education 7

    Understand the Standards (includes vocabulary) 7

    Identify Faculty Leaders 9

    Create Professional Development Opportunities 10

    Assess Student Progress (performance assessments and rubrics) 12

    Analyze Classroom Activity 12

    Support Teacher Performance 13

    Reflect/Revise/Improve 13

    Role of the Classroom Teacher 15


GPS Implementation Plan 17

    GPS Action Plan/Timeline 31

    GPS Communication Strategies 34

    Curriculum Map (ELA, Grade 3) 35

    Year-at-a-Glance (ELA, Grade 3) 41

    Model Unit (ELA, Grade 3, Unit 1) 42

    Unpacked Standards (sample) 44

    Steps to Unpack a Standard 45

    Unit Calendar (ELA, Grade 3, Unit 1) 46

    Checklists to Accompany Unit (ELA, Grade 3, Unit 1) 54

    Performance Assessment (ELA, Grade 3, Unit 1) 61

    Mathematics Matrix 66

    Q and A’s 68 Draft Classroom Walk-Through Observation Checklist 72

    Standards Implementation Checklist 73

    Standards in Practice 75

    Additional Resources for Standards-Based Schools 76

    Feedback and Future Plans Form 77

    Principal’s Guide for School Implementation - Summer 2005 2


Preparing to implement the first phase of the Georgia Performance Standards has

    been a tremendous endeavor that has required countless hours of dedicated effort.

    A special thank you is extended to everyone who has had a part in creating the

    Implementation Guide to School Implementation and all of the Georgia

    Performance Standards documents. Participating personnel includes central office

    staff, principals, teachers, and professional assistants.

We also wish to thank those principals/district office personnel who will facilitate

    leadership discussions around this document and other resources at the Leadership

    Conference on July 28, 2005. Those individuals are: Telana Hicks, Dara Jones,

    Tawana Miller, Vicky Ferguson, Kimothy Jarrett, and Ronnie Wade.

The general outline and much of the commentary is taken or modified from Reeves,

    D.B. Making Standards Work: How to Implement Standards-Based Assessments in

    the Classroom, School, and District. Englewood, CO: Advanced Learning Press, 2004.

    Principal’s Guide for School Implementation - Summer 2005 3

    Board of Education



July 18, 2005


    Fulton County School System

    786 Cleveland Avenue, SW

    Atlanta, GA 30315

Dear Principals:

These are exciting times in the Fulton County School System! We have spent 1-1/2 years preparing for the

    implementation of the first phase of the Georgia Performance Standards. We will be implementing standards in

    K-12 English Language Arts, 6-7 and 9-12 Science, and Grade 6 Mathematics in the fall of 2005-06.

    This document, The Principal’s Guide for School Implementation, attempts to gather in one place the collective wisdom regarding the role of the principal and the classroom teacher in implementing standards-based

    education. It also contains the curriculum documents (or samples) that have been designed by the K-12

    Curriculum Department, with input from teachers and principals, that will provide the needed framework for the


Standards-based education is a journey! One does not become a standards-based teacher or standards-based

    school overnight. It could take as many as seven years for the complete transition to take place. We are

    committed to the vision of a standards-based curriculum and will continue to “work on the work,” providing support from the Curriculum and Instruction Division as needed. Use this guide to help you get started at your

    school. The Curriculum and Instruction Division welcomes your feedback about other documents or

    professional learning activities you need to move your school along this continuum. Thank you for your efforts

    in improving education for all our students.


James Wilson



    786 Cleveland Avenue, SW ? Atlanta, Georgia 30315-7299 ? 404-768-3600 ?

    Principal’s Guide for School Implementation - Summer 2005 4

    Why Standards?

First, there was CBE (Competency-Based Education) with the Basic Skills

    Tests and then QCC (Quality Core Curriculum) with the CRCT (Criterion-

    Referenced Competency Tests) and the GHSGT (Georgia High School

    Graduation Test). The EOCT (End-of-Course Tests) for eight subjects were

    not far behind. Now, it is GPS (Georgia Performance Standards) and the

    realignment of CRCT, GHSGT, and EOCT. Why performance standards

    and why now?

(1) The standards movement allows us to adopt the research-based “less is

    more” philosophy. The Third International Mathematics and Science Study

    (TIMSS) clearly determined that the United States is the only country in the

    world with “a mile wide, inch deep” curriculum. Internationally,

    performance in mathematics and science clearly indicates that studying

    fewer topics in more depth allows for greater retention of learning.

    Standards are stated more globally than isolated objectives, resulting in

    fewer of them for a given year. It would take 23-1/2 years of education to

    master all of the QCC objectives; standards help us get a handle on the

    quantity of material to be mastered so that the curriculum is no longer

    viewed as a checklist of things “to cover.”

    (2) Performance standards focus specially on the concepts that students are

    to know and be able to apply by the end of the school year. The focus is

    on what the students are learning rather than on what the teacher is


    (3) The Georgia Board of Education has adopted a performance standards

    curriculum to be phased in over seven years, beginning in 2005-06. The

    standards movement is a national movement; Georgia is not the first

    state nor will we be the last to move to standards-based education. The

    movement is primarily fueled by such studies as TIMSS.

    (4) Standards-based education is about meeting or exceeding expectations

    in the demonstration of knowledge and skills for all students. To truly

    embrace a standards-based education, one must move past the bell shaped

    curve and normed references, where students are divided into roughly three

    groups: those who have little or no knowledge and skills, those who have

    adequate knowledge and skills, and those who have better than average

    knowledge and skills. In a standards-based system, all students are expected

    to meet or exceed standards, thus, dividing students into two groups: those

    having adequate knowledge and skills and those having above average

    Principal’s Guide for School Implementation - Summer 2005 5

    knowledge and skills. The central question is: “Can they do the job?”

    (Reeves, 2004). From the real world, a good example would be to think of a

    lawyer passing the bar exam or an intern training to become a surgeon.

    Certain criteria must be met to pass the bar exam or to become a licensed

    physician. One would never know if the lawyer passed in the top quartile or

    the bottom quartile but the fact that he/she has passed the exam speaks to the

    fact that this person is qualified and ready to practice law. When students

    graduate from the Fulton County School System, we should be able to say,

    “They can do the job.” (5) The goal of a standards-based curriculum is to provide a broad menu of

    alternatives that meet the needs of students who require additional

    instruction, as well as those who have already achieved the standard

    and appreciate further enrichment (Reeves, 2004). It is a vehicle for

    teachers to apply their knowledge of brain-based research and differentiated


    (6) Only those districts truly committed to standards-based instruction,

    even in the face of challenges, are going to be able to successfully

    implement standards (Reeves, 2004). Standards implementation is

    challenging. Change can be uncomfortable. Commentary will come

    from all sides --- business leaders, community leaders, parents, board

    members, principals, teachers, and the list continues. Even teachers

    who support and understand standards and performance-based

    assessments in theory may be less than enthusiastic when they discover

    that the primary responsibility for the creation and administration of

    these assessments rests with the classroom teacher.

All of these factors point to the importance of the principal’s role in the

    implementation of standards.

    Reeves, D.B. Making Standards Work: How to Implement Standards-Based Assessments in the

    Classroom, School, and District. Englewood, CO: Advanced Learning Press, 2004.

    Principal’s Guide for School Implementation - Summer 2005 6

Seven Steps for Principals to Follow in Implementing

    Standards-Based Education

    I. Understand the Standards

     Action Steps

    According to Doug Reeves (2004), a principal should take the following steps to ensure that

    he or she and all staff members understand the standards.

    ? Take the time to become personally familiar with the Georgia Performance Standards,

    particularly those areas currently being implemented.

    ? Use the standards to communicate with parents and the public about what you are

    teaching. Do this in small chunks. For example, in a single page, a document should

    include a standard, what it means, how we teach it, how we test it, and an activity that

    parents could do to help students master that particular standard.

    ? Provide every faculty member with a complete set of standards. (Refer faculty to the

    Georgia Department of Education website:

    Every professional in the building should have a working knowledge of all the

    standards, not just those for their particular grade level, so that they are teaching “in


    ? Make sure that every faculty member has access to the Fulton County website that

    contains GPS resources.

    ? Carefully distinguish between claims to standards adoption and the real thing. A

    commitment to standards implies that the teacher is creating and using techniques that

    allow all students to meet standards, not maintaining the status quo in which only a

    few students are expected to do so.

    ? Familiarize yourself with the vocabulary and the rationale for standards and use the

    language in all your conversations about teaching and learning.

Key Vocabulary and Definitions

    o Standards - These state the purpose and direction the content is to take, and are generally

    followed by elements. Standards define what students are expected to know, understand,

    and be able to do.

    o Elements Elements are the parts of the content standard that identify specific learning

    goals associated with the standard. State and local assessments will be developed to

    measure achievement at the element level.

    Principal’s Guide for School Implementation - Summer 2005 7

    o Student Work - Examples of these are to be included in the GPS to specify what it takes

    to meet the standard and to enable both teachers and students to see what meeting the

    standard “looks like.” Some student work has already been posted on the Georgia

    Department of Education (GDOE) website; other samples will be posted during the 2005-

    06 school year.

    o Tasks - Keyed to the standards, tasks provide a sample performance that demonstrates

    student learning (what students understand and are able to do) during or by the end of the

    course/year. Tasks can serve as activities that will help students achieve the learning

    goals of the standard, while others can be used to assess student learning; many serve

    both purposes. Although the Georgia Performance Standards will include tasks, teachers

    may develop their own.

    o Teacher Commentary Teacher commentary provides students feedback on whether or not the student has met or exceeded standards. It shows students why they did or did not

    meet a standard and enables them to take ownership of their own learning.

    o Unpacking a Standard A process that breaks a standard into its fundamental components:

    1. standard

    2. big ideas

    3. elements

    4. knowledge

    5. skills

    6. enduring understanding

    7. essential questions

    8. performance assessments

    ? Standards - These state the purpose and direction the content is to take, and

    are generally followed by elements. Standards define what students are

    expected to know, understand, and be able to do.

    ? Big Ideas - These abstractions provide a “conceptual lens” for organizing

    content and connecting important facts, skills, and actions. They are

    derived directly from the standard.

    ? Elements Elements are the parts of the content standard that identify

    specific learning goals associated with the standard. State and local

    assessments will be developed to measure achievement at the element level.

    ? Knowledge and Skills Statements - These are the more specific objectives

    that we want students to know and be able to do. They are derived from the

    essential questions and from the elements of the standard.

    Principal’s Guide for School Implementation - Summer 2005 8

    ? Enduring Understandings - Stated as full-sentence statements, these specify

    what we want students to come to understand about the big ideas.

    ? Essential Questions - These open-ended provocative questions are designed

    to guide student inquiry and focus instruction for “uncovering” the

    important ideas of the content.

    ? Performance Assessment A student task that demonstrates what the

    student knows and is able to do as a result of instruction and learning.

o Rubric A tool that makes explicit the criteria and levels of performance that can be met

    in accomplishing a performance task.

o Curriculum Map A graphic representation of the standards and elements for a specific

    grade level which shows which elements are prerequisite, teacher directed, or on-going


o Pacing Charts A visual representation of clustered standards and elements with

    suggested pacing for the school year.

    o Professional Learning Communities An organizational structure that has these


    1. the collegial and facilitative participation of the principal who shares leadership

    and, thus, power and authority through inviting staff input in decision making

    2. a shared vision that is developed from a commitment on the part of staff to

    students’ learning

    3. collective learning among staff and application of the learning to solutions that

    address students’ needs, specifically, time to plan for the implementation of the

    Georgia Performance Standards in the classroom

    4. the visitation and review of each teacher’s classroom behavior by peers as a

    feedback and assistance activity to support individual and community


    5. physical conditions and human capacities that support such an operation.

    II. Identify Faculty Leaders

Action Steps

    ? Remember that successful systemic change always occurs from the ground up, not the

    top down.

    ? Identify the faculty leaders who have already embraced the change to standards-based

    education. Make sure that these individuals as well as those on your leadership team

    Principal’s Guide for School Implementation - Summer 2005 9

    are all speaking a common language and share the same vision for the direction of the

    school and standards-based education.

    ? Identify those faculty leaders who not only can “talk the talk, but walk the walk”

    regarding standards-based education. These individuals are traditionally your CSTs,

    middle school subject area contacts and high school department chairs.

    ? Consider also individuals outside these ranks to help lead the school effort toward

    standards-based education.

    ? Plan for the items suggested below to help nurture and support these individuals:

    1. Time for collaboration and building professional learning communities

    2. Public recognition of ideas and programs

    3. Personal notes and letters in personnel file to acknowledge leadership in the

    school and show appreciation.

    4. Use of Standards Implementation Checklist when making classroom visits to

    communicate strengths and growth areas.

    Being a leader is often a lonely undertaking and your faculty leaders will look to you

    for support and guidance.

    III. Create Professional Learning Opportunities

    Action Steps

    ? Commit to the creation of a collaborative learning environment that includes the

    entire faculty and smaller communities based on grade level and vertical teams to

    ensure that everyone understands their role in helping all students meet standards.

    The grade level or subject area professional learning communities are essential in the

    planning of units and day-to-day instruction based on the unpacked standards.

    Teachers should not and cannot plan for standards-based instruction in isolation.

    ? Consider Doug Reeves’ (2004) perspective on professional learning for standards-

    based instruction.

    1. Professional learning opportunities should be part of teacher curriculum, not

    the typical “one shot” workshops that we too often put in place. See the

    sample teacher curriculum below.

    2. Different levels of professional learning should be provided to different

    teachers depending on their background and familiarity with standards. By the

    end of a two-year cycle, every teacher should have completed the learning

    objectives of such a curriculum, but not every teacher will have necessarily

    participated in every element of the curriculum.

    Principal’s Guide for School Implementation - Summer 2005 10

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