Unit II: Crafting and Classifying Learning Targets

From KNILT

It was also glaringly apparent to me that the key ideas, in addition to not being student friendly, lacked effective verbs to tell the student and parent what, actually, the student will be able to do. Take a look at the standard key ideas for US History and Government:

NY State Standard Key Ideas:

1. The study of New York State and United States history requires an analysis of the development of American culture, its diversity and multicultural context, and the ways people are unified by many values, practices, and traditions.

2. Important ideas, social and cultural values, beliefs, and traditions from New York State and United States history illustrate the connections and interactions of people and events across time and from a variety of perspectives. NO VERB

3. Study about the major social, political, economic, cultural, and religious developments in New York State and United States history involves learning about the important roles and contributions of individuals and groups.

4. The skills of historical analysis include the ability to: explain the significance of historical evidence; weigh the importance, reliability, and validity of evidence; understand the concept of multiple causation; understand the importance of changing and competing interpretations of different historical developments.

So, a lingering question I have is there anything to salvage with these key ideas? The verbs are in many cases non-observable. How can I craft these long term learning targets so they are student friendly and observable? In order to help me do this I turn to the work of Richard Stiggins. Stiggins in his collaborative book, "Classroom Assessment for Learning," offers an activity for "deconstructing standards." In other words, what are these standards really asking the kids be able to do?

Deconstructing Standards

When you deconstruct a statement of intended learning, you break it into its component parts by asking a series of questions:

• What knowledge will students need to demonstrate the intended learning?

• What patterns of reasoning will they need to master?

• What skills are required?

• What product development capabilities must they acquire?


Well, what is knowledge? what is a pattern of reasoning? What is a skill? What is product development? These terms are one of many taxonomies for categorizing intended learning. Gagne in his work, "Principles of Instructional Design" uses a taxonomy that delineates between intellectual skills, cognitive strategies, verbal information, motor skills, and attitude. Bloom offers another such taxonomy. Stigging et. all have one of their own that I find simpler and easier to work with. I have embedded the file below. Please open the file and decide:


File:Target Type.pdf


What do you like about Stiggins' taxonomy?

Which taxonomy do you find easier to apply to your course-Stiggins' or Gagne's?

I prefer Stiggins' because of its simplicity. I used Stiggins' deconstructing standards questions to do just that- deconstruct the standard key ideas. In taking the first key idea I asked my self:


• What knowledge will students need to demonstrate the intended learning?

Native American experience, slavery, immigration, colonists, American ideals established in the Decaration of independence, constitutional principles


• What patterns of reasoning will they need to master?

Analyze: components, parts, ingredients, logical sequence, steps, main idea,supporting details, determine, dissect, examine


• What skills are required?

listen to dialogue, read nonfiction text fluently, and communicate ideas in an organized manner


• What product development capabilities must they acquire? writing thematic essays, writing document based questions


My revised learning targets look like this after using what I have learned:


1. I can listen, communicate, read, and write in order to synthesize an understanding of how American culture is diverse yet unified by certain ideals.

2. I can listen, read, communicate, and write in order to compare and contrast the opposing points of view that have evolved throughout American history.

3. I can listen, read, communicate, and write in order to analyze the hardships endured and accomplishments made by individuals and groups in American history.

4. I can listen, read, communicate, and write in order to make judgments about American history based on reliable historical evidence


I like these better because they are more student friendly than the ones I had before and they communicate more clearly to the student and the parent what the student will be able to do in the course.



Navigation Links:

Unit I: Exploring Reasons Behind Using and Determining Sources of Learning Targets

Unit II: Crafting and Classifying Learning Targets

Unit III: Matching Targets with Assessments

Unit IV: Using Targets in the Classroom Course Home