The link above explains what and how it’s used PLEASE WATCH These are things that DO NOT belong in Packback:

  •   Questions that are phrased as a statement, not a question
  •   Questions that are closed-ended (only one “right” answer)
  •   Posts that are plagiarized or contain mostly quoted content
  •   Questions or responses that contain profanity or offensive language
  •   Questions about “class logistics” (tests, homework, schedule)
  •   Questions or responses that are not related to the subject matter of the community
  •   Duplicates of other questions or responses already posted
  •   Questions or responses that are intended for cheating

How to ask a great question on Packback

The goal of Packback is to create a community where everyone is sharing questions that foster valuable discussion, challenge existing ways of looking at the world, and uncover brilliant new ideas for applying class learning to the real world.These are the 3 components of a GREAT question to post on Packback:

  • It is OPEN for discussion, and can’t just be “Googled” That means it has more than 1 possible valuable response, so that many people can share ideas and discuss.
  • It SHARES interesting knowledge, source or ideas Great questions share interesting information, sources or ideas from other thinkers, and take them one step further to create a new idea or perspective.
  • It BUILDS connection between the class and the real world Great questions apply and connect class information to real world problems or concepts from other classes. Some of the most creative new ideas come from combining two unrelated ideas, a technique known as “Combinatory Thinking”.





Prior to beginning work on this discussion forum,

· Read Chapter 11: Standards, Curriculum, and Accountability in your Introduction to Teaching: Making a Difference in Student Learning

· Review the background information for this week’s discussion topic in the Packback Discussion Forum Guidance section below.

· Follow the directions in the Task section of the Packback Discussion Forum Guidance section below.

As educators, the guidelines or sets of strategies on which the approaches to teaching are based are called Instructional Models. There are several instructional models that educators use to deliver instruction to their students. In this course we will focus on four specific evidence-based models. The Evidence-Based Models of Teaching chapter provides extensive information about data-proven instructional methods and techniques. To save you from having to dissect the whole document for this course, listed are the pages that share information on the four instructional models upon which we will focus.

· The direct instruction model (pp. 148-149)

· Cooperative learning model (p. 154)

· PBL model (pp. 156-158)

· Inquiry-based model (pp. 159-160)

The Direct Instruction Model – A model of instruction that usually consists of two main components, expository teaching (lecture) and questioning.

Cooperative Learning Model – A learning model that involves the use of small groups in the classroom so that students work together to extend their own and each other’s learning.

PBL Model – A teaching method in which students gain knowledge and skills by working for an extended time on a real-world challenge to produce a product.

Inquiry-Based Model – A teaching model that provides learners with opportunities to develop skills that enable them to locate, gather, and apply information in a wide range of contexts.

Every good educator tries to provide support for learners in as many modalities as possible. The following video clips also introduce our four instructional models upon which we focus this week.







This week your task is to research and evaluate the four main evidenced-based instructional models used in today’s classrooms.

Prior to participating in this discussion forum, review the information about the four main instructional models and invite your classmates to engage in a conversation with you by posing at least one question around those four models.

Craft a thought-provoking question around the four models that might inquire about things like steps and components of the model, how to implement the model, why one might be preferred over another, effectiveness of one model over another, or any other intriguing question topics you may have. The idea is for you to further the critical thinking processes of your classmates by challenging them to broaden their awareness of the four main evidenced-based instructional models used in today’s classrooms.



Standards, Curriculum, and Accountability

Photo of Lorraine (Reina) Floyd

Teacher Interview: Lorraine (Reina) Floyd

Lorraine (Reina) Floyd teaches pre-algebra and honors algebra at Irmo Middle School, home of the Yellow Jackets, in District Five of Lexington and Richland counties in South Carolina. There are 65 teachers at Irmo, 81% of whom have advanced degrees. There are 400 white, 409 African American, 40 Hispanic, and 25 Asian Pacific Islander students at Irmo; 146 of these students have disabilities, and 23 have limited English proficiency. Sixty-seven percent of the seventh and eighth graders at Irmo are enrolled in high school credit courses. In 2011, Irmo Middle School exceeded standards for progress toward the 2020 South Carolina performance vision: By 2020 all students will graduate with the knowledge and skills necessary to compete successfully in the global economy, participate in a democratic society, and contribute positively as members of families and communities.

Why did you decide to become a teacher?

My interest in teaching was first sparked when as a young child my father regularly played “school” with me. He let me “teach” him basic math concepts like addition and subtraction well before I formally learned them in school. Later, in the eighth grade, I had the distinct pleasure of having both my language arts and social studies classes taught by Mrs. Bowers. She approached classroom management and assessment in an engaging and inspirational manner. Ultimately, I went into teaching in hopes of sparking a love of learning in students like she did with me.

Where do you find joy in teaching?

I derive my joy from watching students become more comfortable with themselves and each other as mathematicians. They build their confidence in their math abilities by discussing and supporting their thinking process. I love hearing my students participate in mathematical discourse.

It’s sad, but so many of my students start the school year with a defeatist attitude. Somewhere along the way someone sent them the message that they aren’t capable of learning, and therefore it’s not worth the time or effort. The degree to which these students gain confidence varies. At first, many of these students view my encouragement as bothering them, but the joy on their faces when they gain understanding is more than worth their initial discomfort. Unfortunately, not all of my students experience the level of success that I would like them to, but they all experience enough success in our classroom that I see an improvement in their effort and self-efficacy by the end of the year.

How would you describe excellence in teaching?

To me excellence in teaching is like perfection—it isn’t something to be obtained, but to continuously strive for. I strive to engage my students, meet them where they are, and help them rise to where they need to be.

In what ways do you focus your instruction on student learning?

I guess it can be easy for teachers to get off track and focus more on sharing what they know about a topic rather than focusing on student learning. I have a few tools to keep me on track and help me remember that it’s all about student learning. The first tool I use in my instruction is my knowledge of my students. I have them take inventories—learning and personal interests—at the beginning of the year and pretests before teaching each unit. The second tool I use is me—my personality, my understanding of the content, and my unabashed geeky devotion to all things math. Some of the day-to-day tools I use are cooperative learning, informal formative assessments throughout a lesson, and summative assessments that inform any remediation efforts that must be made.

What are some tips you might have for college students considering teaching?

When interviewing with a district or school, be sure to ask about their mentorship program. If they do not have one, it is not the place for you. So many educators leave the profession because education courses do not prepare us for the daily grind of teaching. We all need guidance and support. Without it, getting overwhelmed is inevitable.

Questions to Consider


1. Mrs. Floyd indicated that both her father and a former teacher helped her decide on teaching as a career. Do you believe family members might have a stronger influence on a person’s decision to become a teacher than a former teacher? Why or why not?


2. Mrs. Floyd finds joy in teaching as her students become more comfortable with their abilities in mathematics. How might a teacher help the students to become “comfortable” in a content area?


3. Mrs. Floyd describes excellence in teaching as a something to “continuously strive for.” Why might excellence in teaching be something that a teacher must always seek to achieve?


4. Consider how one of your teachers might have used the knowledge they had of you to help you learn. What did that teacher’s knowledge of you feel like?


5. What are some ways mentors might help teachers survive their first year?



Learning Outcomes

 After reading this chapter, you should be able to


1. Understand why there are standards for student learning.


2. Know how standards are established.


3. Recognize the ways standards and benchmarks can be used as a framework for lesson plans.


4. Understand ways the focus on standards and benchmarks can improve teaching practices and student learning.


5. Know ways that standards, curriculum, and accountability are interrelated.


6. Know ways teachers can use standards to increase their own professional growth.


You are starting down the road to becoming a teacher at a time when all eyes—public, political, parental, and even those of your peers—are focused on student learning as something that can be viewed as a direct result of teacher performance. You are going to be in the spotlight. The long, hard look at what students and teachers know and know how to do has given rise to all manner of standards, benchmarks, and criteria for determining ways education—and especially teachers—are accountable. Standards have become an integral part of schooling: establishing them, using them to improve schools, using them to improve instruction, and using them as a means toward determining student progress.

There is an indisputable logic behind having a certain level of achievement in mind when undertaking any project. If a hostess is planning a dinner and decides to make a lemon meringue pie for dessert, she has a certain ideal in mind for what the pie should look like. There should be exactly the right amount and consistency of sunshine-yellow filling in a tan crust. Two inches of firmly swirled white meringue on top should have peaks toasted golden brown with at least a half dozen or more crystal pearls of moisture adding the final touch. The end result is beautiful to look at and delicious to eat. And anything below that standard just won’t do. Students are not pies, but their fillings should meet equally high standards, and teachers who plan for and prepare their lessons to fill students’ minds should be well aware of the role standards, curriculum, and accountability play in promoting student learning.


When Mrs. Floyd was asked in what ways standards were implemented in her classroom, she replied, “Last year several teachers at the district level unpacked the standards and noted where there are areas that overlap or gap between the common core standards and those that we are currently teaching. This coming school year, we will start implementing the common core standards. By the school year 2013–2014, the common core standards will be fully implemented.”


Deeper Look Read more about standard American education.

Standards are statements about overarching values in education that the majority of people agree upon. A standard is an acknowledged measure of comparison for quantitative or qualitative value, a criterion, a norm, or a degree or level of excellence that is achieved. Deciding what PreK–12 students and their teachers should know and be able to do is a major concern of educational policymakers as well as schools and departments of education. Their solution to this problem is the development of standards. What should be learned is also of concern to the teachers and students who grapple with standards on a daily basis. A teacher’s job is to transform standards into enriched learning experiences that engage the intellect of students.

Standards are necessary in order to measure the learning that takes place in one school or place against other schools and other places. Setting such standards may seem like a simple task, but it was probably easier to standardize the size and width of railroad cars in the 19th century than to standardize anything having to do with education. Performance-based standards are designed to assure accountability and improve schools through exerting top-down control by holding students, teachers, schools, and districts accountable for the results of student achievement. Additionally, an underlying agenda of standards is also to see that public tax dollars are well spent. Setting standards in education has become a huge undertaking. It is complex, political, and fraught with challenges.

Standards are a general statement of a final goal;  are specific waypoints, turning points, or landmarks along the way to achieving the goal. Benchmarks denote the measurable stages along the journey to successfully achieving standards. For example, when a stagecoach left St. Louis for Custer, South Dakota, it began with a fast, fresh team of horses. During the trip, however, there were regular stops along the way to refresh the horses or hitch up a new team, and to give the travelers some time to check on their own condition. The stops where this change of horses or taking stock occurred were the benchmarks: measurable, familiar points along the way to reaching the final goal. Each time a new stagecoach left St. Louis, its forward journey was measured by reaching predetermined stage stops. Individual journeys might be filled with novel experiences but the stage stops, “benchmarks,” along the way were familiar and well established.


There is always a degree of difference in the ways standards of performance are judged.

Characteristics of Standards

Standards are conceptually nothing new. Standards for student achievement have probably existed since the first student had to read from the Bible in the first Massachusetts school. The “Old Deluder Satan Act” of 1647 definitely set standards for what students of that era were expected to know since it was assumed that one chief aim of Satan was to keep man from knowledge of the Scriptures. Every township of 50 or more families was ordered to appoint someone within the town to provide all children with an elementary education so they could, of course, read the scriptures.

Benjamin Franklin’s 1749 Proposal Relating to the Education of Youth in Pensilvania [sic] was intended to make English the standard of instruction rather than Latin and to establish a curriculum that was both scientific and practical. Thomas Jefferson’s 1779 “Bill for the More General Diffusion of Knowledge” planned to establish cumulative and consecutive levels of education, from elementary schools, to secondary schools, and then possibly on to college. Jefferson’s plan also called for states to control the schools rather than the church or the federal government. The curriculum of the Common School Movement of the 1800s outlined the skills needed for everyday life, for ethical behavior, and for responsible citizenship (Cremin, 1951, p. 62). President George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 supported reading instruction to ensure that every child in public schools could read at or above grade level by third grade. The No Child Left Behind Act also strove to strengthen teacher quality for public schools by investing in training and retention of high-quality teachers. Each of these efforts, in addition to a multitude of other proposals, bills, and plans, to establish standards and improve American education have contributed to and continue to contribute to setting criteria for a cumulative and consecutive system of universal public education for all children who attend the nation’s schools.

While the establishment of standards may appear to be the purview of lawmakers, politicians, and educators, parents also have major concerns about what schools will expect of their children. Parents want some measures of . They want their children to succeed in school, and to have rewarding and enriching experiences there. Some standards are easy for parents to understand, for example, “all children will learn to read,” while some standards are less clear, such as “children will be ready to learn.” Readiness for elementary school is an implicit standard for beginning formal schooling in the United States. Although school attendance is not mandatory in most states until first grade, national surveys of parents of early elementary pupils show that a large majority of primary school children attended kindergarten before entering first grade. Such reports provide evidence that parents are concerned that their sons and daughters will begin school well prepared to meet the standards.

There are standards for content, for student achievement, for teachers, and for teacher education. In  you learned about the Interstate New Teacher Assessment Support Consortium (InTASC) Standards, stated as principles, and about national certification for teachers by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS). You can learn more about the purposes of each of these organizations by visiting their websites,  and , respectively. You will become very familiar with the InTASC Standards during your teacher education course work and with the NBPTS later in your career.

Common Core Standards

At the Common Core Standards website (), the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices, Council of Chief State School Officers state that “standards do not tell teachers how to teach, but they do help teachers figure out the knowledge and skills their students should have so that teachers can build the best lessons and environments for their classrooms. Standards also help students and parents by setting clear and realistic goals for success. Standards are a first step; a key building block—in providing an accessible roadmap for our teachers, parents, and students” (2010).


Video Link Watch a clip about the common core state initiative.

The U.S. Department of Education has declared that “all states and schools will have challenging and clear standards of achievement and accountability for all children, and effective strategies for reaching those standards.” As a result, the Common Core State Standards initiative has been created. This initiative, while coordinated by the National Governors Association Center for&#xA0

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