Right now I am in the process of updating my curriculum on the Essential Standards and Outcomes for the Minnesota State Standards. This document was first drafted to streamline instruction. We looked at the benchmarks for the state test and how many items from each were represented. We then analyzed our standards and combined them where they made sense. This way instead of feeling like we have to cover all of these benchmarks, we now have broad essential standards that we create lessons for. For many of our teachers, the actual merging of benchmarks lifted an unseen barrier that kept them from designing lessons and activities that would address multiple standards.
Currently I am in the process of redesigning my assessments for the Essential Standards. When we initially created them, we had a pretest that measured a student’s knowledge of prior skills needed for each and a posttest to measure how much of the information students had mastered. I am changing my format to make one test that will be both a pretest and posttest to show student growth over the unit. Student growth is a focal point of our state and this will allow me to efficiently provide that data. I will post the Essential Standards without these assessments, and I will update them as I complete them. If you design any or have suggestions on how I can improve the assessments please post them.