New LA standards in TennesseeIf you teach 9-12 English in Tennessee, what do you think of the new standards and the new EOCs we'll have to give? Do you think it is possible to cover every standard...
If you teach 9-12 English in Tennessee, what do you think of the new standards and the new EOCs we'll have to give? Do you think it is possible to cover every standard in a one-semester block?
Well, Tennessee now has EOCs (End of Course Exams)? At least that’s what Missouri calls them. Our EOCs are based on the CLEs(Course Level Expectations) which were developed from our GLEs (Grade Level Expectations). I was once told that all of our GLEs could be addressed in 90 days. However, the question was about EOCs, and I can only tell you what ours were like, but perhaps they will be similar to yours. Our EOC started with the 10th grade Communication Arts classes last year. The test itself consisted of approximately 35-50 higher order thinking multiple choice questions and one writing prompt. I also helped write questions for our states 9th grade EOC for Comm. Arts which will be administered this year. All the old testing tips such as: eliminate those you know are wrong, look for the one with the most information, and other cues we teach as a means of helping students decide are no longer viable. The questions are written and rewritten so that there are virtually no clues. Every answer choice is plausible and correct, but only one is the best or most likely answer. I would suggest you use every means possible to teach your kids how to THINK for themselves and reaffirm the belief in them that they can think and are good thinkers.
I have worked with several states' curriculum frameworks for English language arts and I have yet to see one where every single standard can be “covered” effectively in a single semester or even a single school year. Vertical planning is important in grades 9-12 so that the standards can be evenly distributed, according to the likelihood of its appearing on the EOC exams in a given year, to ensure that all the standards are addressed adequately within four years.
For 9th and 10th grades, this means identifying the “power standards” that are likely to appear on those EOC tests. More esoteric standards should be reserved for the 11th and 12th grade courses. If an English department takes this approach, students should demonstrate sufficient proficiency in 9th and 10th grades for the school to make progress toward Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) goals.
Thanks for all your comments. My concern with TN's new "standards" is that they leave no room for critical thinking. A couple of years ago, it was discovered that TN was not telling the whole truth about student test scores. Too many college freshmen were being required to take remedial courses; yet, they had scored proficient or even advanced on the Gateway tests, required for graduation. So who did the state get to advise on how to improve--business leaders. They asked 4 or 5 of the leading CEOs on what the state could do to prepare better workers for them.
So the new standards lean heavily on nonfictional and technical reading skills and communication. I'm afraid literature and creative writing are on their deathbeds in my state.
I love the previous post's idea of "power standards" and using "power assessments" to cover multiple standards are going to be critical in every new venue of transforming curriculum to meet exam based assessment. I think that trying to go line by line on standard assessment is very difficult. It might also not be very effective from an educator's point of view. This might come down to identifying a particular assessment tool and try to incorporate multiple standards within this particular framework. "Power assessments/ tasks" that are able to encompass multiple standards in one venue is very effective in trying to meet the need to accomplish benchmarks for progress.
One way to keep literature and creative writing alive is to pair them with other tasks. For example, you can read short stories or novels that match the nonfiction. You can also have students write stories based on these selections. As for technical writing, you can make that creative as well. For example, you can base it on fiction that you are reading.