One of the first things people share with me since coming to RSU2 in September is a frustration with learning targets. This is something I hear in every school, in every grade level, and in every content area. It isn't that people don't understand the point of them, quite the contrary. It is that people understand the point of them so well that they now see the need to improve them. Here are the most common points I hear:
Most of the Measurement Topics and Targets we are using were drafted and adopted about six years ago when the district first switched to a proficiency-based system. It was a classic Voltaire moment, not letting “the perfect be the enemy of the good.” Or, if you prefer sports, a Nike “Just Do it” moment.
Now, six years and a whole lot of growth later, we are realizing just how “not perfect” those Measurement Topics and Targets are. In order to make them what we want them to be, we have to take a step back in our understanding of Targets and Measurement Topics. And it is extremely important that we do. Learning Targets and Measurement Topics make personalized learning possible.
Here in RSU 2, we use the following definitions and explanations:
Learning Target: the skills, knowledge, and reasoning processes required for learners to achieve proficiency of each measurement topic. Student learning and teacher facilitation is focused on the learning target.
Measurement Topic: the summary of the learning targets in a strand within a content area.
These are the absolute basics of how Learning Targets and Measurement Topics work. There are several other important pieces to working with Learning Targets and Measurement Topics. Stay tuned for a video post (a vlog...what?) about the difference between procedural and declarative targets...
Courtney is the Instructional Coach for KIDS RSU #2 in Maine. She also hosts a podcast about personalized learning, and is available for independent consulting work.
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