Implementation Strategies

 Introducing Students to the Core Competencies

In a student-centered learning environment, students are active participants in the setting of their own learning objectives and the assessment of their achievement. Empower students to engage in a conversation about the most essential elements of their learning by introducing them gradually to the competencies you have identified as central to your content area and coursework. 

Because standards tend to be broad statements, you might display, read aloud, and

decode a single standard and ask students to generate a list of more specific skills to describe that standard in action. For example, Civic and Social Responsibility standard 3 reads:

"Lead and exert a positive social influence on others."

Individually, in small groups, or with a partner, students brainstorm a list of actions they could take to demonstrate competence as a leader with positive social influence. After sharing their ideas, display the bulleted action statements in the Planning Guide for Civic and Social ResponsibilityCompare and encourage students to draw from this conversation one or more specific leadership skills they can focus on and develop in the course of a unit.

Seeing the Big Picture

Click here for a word cloud made from the text of our school-wide planning guides for reading, writing, speaking and listening, language, creative problem solving, and civic and social responsibility.

Challenge students to match each image to its topic. (The word clouds in the top row represent the rubrics for reading and for writing. The words clouds in the middle row represent the rubrics for speaking and listening and for creative problem solving. The word cloud in the bottom row represents the rubric for civic and social responsibility.)

Encourage students to notices not only the differences but also the similarities between each collection of key words. Generate a list of the most frequent words and discuss their importance to learning in your classroom.

This word cloud is made from the full text of the planning guide for writing:

Connecting Content and Skills
Establish key connections between the knowledge and skills your students need to learn in your discipline and the literacy skills outlined in the standards. For example, a Biology teacher synthesized performance standards into a standards-based Biology course description for his students. In this draft, the only words not taken directly from the 2014 drafts of the school-wide planning guides appear in blue. This year, using Explain Everything, he created a standards-based Biology course video to explicitly link the content of Biology with the essential categories of literacy outlined in the school-wide planning guides.

In the 2013-14 second semester, RHS Biology teacher Marcie Day streamlined the School-wide Planning Guide for Writing into a lab report rubric for the majority of her students' lab reports by keeping only the CCR Grade Span 9-10 standards and highlighting only the text that applies. There will be some labs that will include more highlights from the planning guide for writing, depending on the assignment. 

Student Self-Assessment and Goal-Setting
Introduce students to the Core Competencies and by challenging them to self-assess their current level of achievement and to set manageable and self-accessible learning targets for skills they need to improve in order to succeed in and beyond high school. Click here for an example inspired by the work of RHS Biology teacher Marcie Day of a Student Self-Assessment Chart for Writing.

After students self-assess their current level of achievement and converse with a partner or in small groups about recent assignments, activities, or experiences that show evidence of their self-rating, they begin to set goals for themselves in our classrooms, perhaps by completing this sentence and listing the top three areas of improvement they need to achieve:


“As a reader in the _________________________ classroom, I can focus on and improve my ability to:

1. ___________________________________

2. ___________________________________

3. ___________________________________

Action Plans

Students brainstorm for evidence that will demonstrate their effort to improve as, in this example, readers in your classroom. Periodically throughout the quarter, students take part in planning sessions to reflect on their progress and gather evidence into a portfolio.


Introducing Students to the Vocabulary of Assessment

The standards and RHS Core Competencies contain frequent repetitions of words related to critical thinking and communication, and students need to understand these words in order to comprehend the standards they are expected to meet.

The starting point is the RHS School-wide Rubrics Glossary of Terms, published here and at the school website. Select terms critical to success in your classroom and work with several each week. For example, since verbs are the muscle of language, you might begin with a short list of the most important action words in the Glossary:








There are many helpful vocabulary acquisition strategies at this site. One example is the Context Plus graphic organizer. Students write a target word in the top box, then brainstorm in small groups for what they know about the word and what they associate with the word (images, positive or negative emotions, contexts, etc.). Then students look for word parts they might recognize and make predictions about the word’s meaning. Then share examples of the word in context, ending with the word’s use in a SW Rubric, and compose together or in groups a definition for the word.


Modeling with Student Exemplars

Periodically, display an example of student work that demonstrates “strong” or “distinguished” evidence of meeting one or more of the Standards in one of the SW Planning and Assessment Guides.

Display examples of student work that demonstrates “partial” evidence of meeting one or more of the standards; suggest or ask for ways in which this work could be improved in order to demonstrate “moderate” or “strong” evidence.