High Quality Work - Claim 1:
Over the last five years the level of complexity in our students' work has grown for all students. In the past, some of our students created complex work some of the time. However, deepening our implementation of the EL Education Core Practices (especially in the areas of curriculum and assessment) has helped us ensure that all students create complex work more often.
Our Recent Learning...
For many years, our "final products" at the end of learning expeditions have been excellent examples of complex work, and that remains true today. What has changed through careful implementation of EL Education practices is that now we see all students are able to demonstrate the skills necessary to complete these final products in an "on demand" setting prior to (or as part of) working on the "final product" itself. In other words, more students are demonstrating the ability to complete complex work more often through careful scaffolding of instruction, tasks, and assessments. Fewer students are drafting on the thinking of others, and overall the complexity of each student's work has increased.
This has been accomplished through deepening the collaboration between staff who now review each others tasks, assessments, and rubrics more often, collaborate more carefully on curriculum mapping so that math and literacy are woven more artfully into other academic disciplines, and work together to better bring to life the deepest intent of the Common Core State Standards through well designed learning expeditions and in depth investigations. Finally, a concerted effort has been made to ensure that all teachers at REALMS are teachers of literacy, and students have frequent practice at unpacking challenging texts and writing with evidence. Teachers work in bi-monthly Professional Learning Communities (PLC's) to review and provide feedback on each other's tasks, scoring documents, lesson plans and student work. This PLC work is focused directly on helping all students complete high quality work. Beyond the ongoing PLC collaboration, our faculty gathers at the end of each semester for a three hour "Quality Work Protocol" in which we review and analyze student work using the three attributes of high quality work. The results of these Quality Work Protocols, including the products and tasks we reviewed, the trends we observed and the goals we set, can be found in the REALMS Credentialing Data Profile.
As evidenced in...
The two artifact groups to the left contain evidence (primarily student work) that demonstrates critical literacy skills including the ability to understand, analyze and synthesize different viewpoints presented in challenging short text resources. Both artifact groups also showcase work in which students applied content knowledge and skills gained in background work to significant writing tasks in which they were required to support arguments with evidence and apply theoretical knowledge to real world contexts or issues. The first example comes from an 8th grade science class and the 2nd from a 7th grade humanities class.
Complexity: All students create complex work that demonstrates higher-order thinking skills, a deep understanding of multiple perspectives on an issue, and the ability to transfer understanding from one context to another.