Universal, Guaranteed, Viable Curriculum Mapping Process
Beginning December 2015, the MPCSD embarked on a district-wide process of mapping the standards, units, resources and general timing of content and instruction aligned to the new California Common Core Standards, Next Generation Science Standards, and various other state and national standards for all subjects taught within MPCSD.
The process, facilitated by teacher leaders and EdServices staff, is intentionally collaborative and teacher-driven. The resulting maps, all created by the teachers, are intended to describe what we teach in each subject and grade level and generally when we teach it. How a teacher chooses to teach is determined by the teacher’s interest, creativity, best practices, and past experience. Changes to the maps are encouraged as needed and require team agreement in a collaborative environment. Timing of units are only defined to the degree that specific units will be taught in a particular trimester, allowing for limited, yet important district benchmark assessment. Teachers retain a great deal of autonomy as to what is occurring in their classroom. In fact, teachers could choose not to follow the UGVC map; however, their students’ success on the expected outcomes will be measured. Teachers should be prepared to justify how choosing a different path led to better, similar, or less successful results.
The platform in which the MPCSD UGVC Maps are recorded and accessed is chalk.com. All educators in MPCSD have free access to chalk.com in order to access the UGVC Maps. Teachers are also offered fee-based (paid for by MPCSD) lesson planning access to chalk.com’s “Planboard” app that allows for seamless integration of online lesson planning and collaboration software to the UGVC Maps. Teachers are not required to use online lesson planning tools; those tools are not monitored by administration.
The process through which each PLC (“Professional Learning Community” consisting of teachers who teach same grade and subjects) will be led to developing UGVC Maps involve the steps outlined below. The process is adapted from the book, Classroom Assessment for Student Learning (2nd edition). Not all members of the PLC need be present during the process; however, representation from each school must be present. All maps will be available to all members of the PLC for review and suggested editing. The Maps are living documents and can be collaboratively edited over time.
Step 1: Standard Classification
This step involves reviewing each standard and classifying each standard by target type. The target types are either: knowledge, reasoning, skill, product, or disposition. The first four target types are ordered by cognitive demand; however, it’s important not to see one as less important or valuable. For example, “knowledge”-level targets are essential as they lay the foundation for all preceding targets. When classifying standards, the team is asked to identify the highest level of classification for the purposes of deconstruction. Click Here for a copy of the table below.
Not reflected in the table is the “disposition” target. This target is designed for local priorities such as soft skills, mindsets, character traits, etc. that are not directly reflected in the standards, but remain a local priority. An example might be “accepting and utilizing feedback” in a unit that involved design thinking.
Step 2: Standard Deconstruction and Lesson Target Design
Deconstruction is the next step in the process and allows the team to identify all of the Learning Targets necessary for success at the highest cognitive level of the standard. The Deconstruction process occurs using the Deconstruction Template, which results in the clearly defined Learning Targets. A cursory search on the internet will reveal that the deconstruction process has been conducted by several districts and states. The results of those deconstruction experiences, however, are a bit hit-or-miss. While teams are welcome to utilize deconstruction that has already occurred, it’s essential to keep a close eye to ensure MPCSD’s needs are met. Editing of already deconstructed standards is essential if using another district’s results. The editing must ensure the use of the clear coding system on the deconstruction template so alignment to curriculum, instruction, assessment, and grading tools is evident. Click Here for a copy of the template below.
Step 3: Unit/Module Planning and Pacing
Using the Learning Targets written during the Deconstruction process, teams begin the unit planning and pacing process. (It is also possible that a team would choose to begin with unit planning; the decision can be made on a case-by-case basis.) Each subject is different in nature and thus the unit planning can reflect the unique characteristics of each subject. Units or Modules are both designed and assigned to a specific trimester during this step. Learning Targets are assigned to each unit; some targets are unit specific, while others are repeated throughout the curriculum. The UGVC maps in chalk.com are a collection of units around which teachers have a great deal of flexibility.
Step 4: Writing Targets to be Meaningful for Students
During this step, attention is paid to translating the Learning Targets into student-friendly language. While optional, this step allows teachers to pull Learning Targets directly from the Curriculum Map into their Lesson Plans for students. It can be a helpful step for future use. “Personalizing” the Learning Targets from the Deconstruction Template simply by adding “I can” or “we can” in front of the Learning Target is an efficient method for making Targets student-friendly in addition to clarifying challenging vocabulary used in the Learning Target (if applicable).
Step 5: High-Quality Assessment Design and Target x Method Matching
Once the Curriculum Maps are effectively completed, PLCs are led through the design/critique of benchmark assessments where necessary and/or desired. The process of designing/critiquing benchmark assessments instructs teachers in also designing effective classroom-based formative and summative assessment.
The Target X Method Match below (also available on page 94 of Classroom Assessment for Student Learning--2nd edition) can be used as a guide to make sure appropriate (best match) assessment methods are used to assess Learning Targets based on Learning Target classification. There are four assessment methods to consider:
- Selected Response (multiple choice, true/false, matching, fill in the blank)
- Written Response (short answer and extended answer)
- Performance Assessment Task
- Personal Communication (questions during instruction, interviews & conferences, conversations, oral examinations, student journals, and logs)
For example, if a Learning Target is classified at the reasoning level, the written response or personal communication method should be used followed by the selected response method. Performance assessment tasks are only appropriate with some reasoning targets.
Step 6: Evidenced-Based Grading Alignment
As MPCSD moves toward more evidenced-based grading practices, the opportunity to align reporting to the Learning Targets designed in curriculum maps is an essential final step. During this step, facilitators will work to ensure that teachers can report student outcomes based on meaningful evidence (i.e. high quality assessment, Learning Targets aligned to proficiency scales, and instructional tasks aligned to Learning Targets) that puts the focus on learning.
Each PLC is invited to participate in this process beginning where they are and moving at a pace and in a manner that makes the most sense to them. While each PLC is expected to move in this direction, they have some choice in terms of the conditions in which and speed at which they want to move.
While the sequence outlined above is sequential, each PLC may be entering the process at a different stage. Some may be entering it with UGVC, while others through assessment; still others, may be entering it at the point of evidenced-based grading. These different points of entry are not a problem. Facilitators (TOSAs, Grading Leaders, district staff) are prepared to consider and plan for past work and future work when facilitating the stage in which a team finds themselves. For example, Learning Targets designed during report card revision will be brought into the Deconstruction process if the report cards occurred first.
The EdServices Department stands ready to support the work of each PLC. This is an organic process that will evolve over time. We remain grateful for the incredibly talented, flexible, and collaborative educators throughout the district who make this process a success.