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Standard 2 - Student Learning

Student Learning practices maximize the impact of learning for each student.

The school has a vision of the graduate that includes the attainment of transferable skills, disciplinary/interdisciplinary knowledge, understandings, and dispositions necessary to prepare learners for their future. Students are assured consistent learning outcomes through a defined curricular experience and have the opportunity to demonstrate their skills and knowledge in a variety of creative ways. Students actively participate in authentic learning experiences while practicing the skills and habits of mind to regularly reflect upon, and take ownership of, their learning.

Principles of Effective Practice

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2.1 The school has a vision of the graduate that includes the attainment of transferable skills, knowledge, understandings and dispositions necessary for future success and provides feedback to learners and their families on each learner’s progress in achieving this vision.

Descriptors of Effective Practice

The vision of the graduate:

  • includes transferable skills defined by specific and measurable criteria for success, such as school-wide analytic rubrics, which target high levels of achievement
  • includes knowledge, understandings, and dispositions necessary for future success
  • is embedded into curriculum, instruction, and assessment practices.

The school has:

  • a formal process to assess and communicate individual learner progress toward achieving the school’s vision of the graduate
  • an annual report on whole-school progress toward learner achievement of the vision of the graduate.

2.2 There is a written curriculum in a consistent format for all courses in all departments that includes units of study with guiding/essential questions, concepts, content, and skills and integrates the school’s vision of the graduate.

Descriptors of Effective Practice

The written curriculum includes:

  • units of study with guiding/essential questions, concepts, content, and skills
  • instructional strategies
  • assessment practices
  • discipline-specific, higher order thinking and transferable skills
  • dispositions, such as independence, flexible thinking, and persistence
  • disciplinary/interdisciplinary knowledge
  • the school’s vision of the graduate.

2.2a Foundational Element - There is a written curriculum in a consistent format for all courses in all departments.

Descriptors of Effective Practice

The written curriculum includes:

  • units of study with guiding/essential questions, concepts, content, and skills
  • instructional strategies
  • assessment practices.

2.3 Curriculum ensures that learners demonstrate a depth of understanding over a breadth of knowledge. 

Descriptors of Effective Practice

Learners engage in a curriculum that:

  • makes connections to prior knowledge across disciplines
  • places an emphasis on learner application of knowledge and skills
  • emphasizes deep understanding through interdisciplinary learning, project-based learning, and authentic learning experiences
  • includes discipline-specific, higher order thinking and transferable skills and dispositions
  • embeds skills and competencies necessary to attain the school’s vision of the graduate.

2.4 Instructional practices are designed to meet the learning needs of each student.

Descriptors of Effective Practice

Instructional practices include:

  • strategically differentiating, individualizing, and/or personalizing based on student learning needs
  • using formative assessment to adjust instruction
  • purposefully organizing group learning
  • providing additional support and alternative strategies within the regular classroom
  • organizational, grouping, and tiered intervention strategies that meet the needs of each learner within the regular classroom
  • structure and support to provide all learners with access to rigorous learning opportunities.

2.5 Students are active learners who have opportunities to lead their own learning.

Descriptors of Effective Practice

Active learning strategies include:

  • learning that is personalized, relevant, and authentic
  • opportunities for students to determine learning outcomes
  • project-based learning
  • learning that fosters student agency by providing opportunities to set goals and reflect upon the results to guide their own learning process
  • application of knowledge and skills to authentic tasks
  • student discourse and reflection on learning
  • student choice, pursuit of personal interests, and opportunities for creative expression
  • opportunities to learn in and out of school.

2.6 Learners regularly engage in inquiry, problem-solving, and higher order thinking skills.

Descriptors of Effective Practice

Inquiry, problem-solving, and higher order thinking skills require learners to engage in:

  • questioning, analysis, and understanding impacts
  • activities that prioritize deep understanding, analysis, synthesis, creativity, making connections, and understanding relationships
  • critical and creative thinking skills
  • dispositions, such as independence, flexible thinking, and persistence
  • deliberately designed learning and assessment experiences that are cognitively challenging and require learners to develop and exercise a full-range of thinking skills and learning dispositions.

2.7 Learners demonstrate their learning through a variety of assessment strategies that inform classroom instruction and curriculum.

Descriptors of Effective Practice

Effective assessment practices include:

  • assessment of, for, and as student learning
  • a wide range of assessment strategies, including formative and summative assessments, to inform and differentiate instruction
  • common assessments that serve to ensure consistent and equitable learning opportunities across grades or courses
  • specific and measurable criteria for success provided to learners prior to assessments
  • communication of the school’s vision of the graduate and related unit-specific learning goals to be assessed prior to each unit of study
  • regular and consistent checks for understanding in ways that engage every learner’s thinking about the concept, skill, or information being learned
  • presentation of learning to authentic audiences, including students, families, community members, and professionals.

2.8 Learners have multiple opportunities to demonstrate their learning, receive corrective feedback, and use this feedback in meaningful ways to support their learning.

Descriptors of Effective Practice

Learners are provided with:

  • multiple and varied opportunities over time to demonstrate their learning
  • consistent, systematic, specific, and timely corrective feedback
  • opportunities and time necessary to revise and improve their work
  • teacher feedback as well as peer feedback and self-reflection to guide next steps in learning
  • separate grading/reporting and feedback for work habits and academic skills.

2.9 Learners use technology across all curricular areas to support, enhance, and demonstrate their learning.

Descriptors of Effective Practice

Learners use technology in informed, effective,
and ethical ways to:

  • communicate clearly and creatively
  • access, support, document, and supplement their learning
  • construct knowledge, create, and problem-solve
  • broaden their perspectives locally and globally
  • personalize the pace of learning
  • share work with an audience beyond the school community
  • collaborate digitally to support learning
  • engage in learning beyond the constraints of the school building and school day.

2020 Standards for Accreditation

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