Begin with the Colorado Academic Standards to identify critical learning goals for students
Colorado has adopted new academic standards that describe what students should know and be able to do at the end of their schooling. In order to make sure that students are prepared for college and the workforce, districts can use the standards to support teachers in the identification of the learning goals in each course and grade level.
Defining learning goals, which represent a subset of the knowledge and skills that students are expected to master by taking a particular course (or courses) in school, can help districts to narrow down the types of measures that are selected for use in educator evaluations. This step is critical to provide clarity on the expected outcomes for students and to understand the different ways in which students should be able to apply and demonstrate knowledge and skills.
The identification of learning goals starts with a simple question that can be asked at the school and classroom levels: “What do we expect our students to know and be able to do as a result of the instruction received in each (content/course/grade) that is offered in our district?” Beginning with this question encourages everyone in the district to think concretely about what it is they want to accomplish with their instruction and to think about what aspirations they have for their students. Making explicit connections to the state Quality Standards will help teachers realize and appreciate that their aspirations are consistent with state and district expectations. Only after the learning goals for courses are made explicit and are connected to standards can the process of identifying and selecting assessments for teacher evaluations begin.