“…We develop our courses with the help of design documents that show the alignment between the state standards and the learning objectives. …”Krista Tomaselli, Michigan Virtual
QM understands how important it is for schools and districts to meet state-accepted or other accepted standards for content. That's why Specific Review Standard (SRS) 2.3 must be met at 100% rather than 85% like other Standards.
SRS 2.3 states, “The learning objectives or competencies are aligned with state standards and/or other accepted content standards.” So why does it have to be met at 100%? Because schools and districts have to prepare students to meet any applicable state standards or benchmarks. That's why the first direction provided to Reviewers in the Annotation for SRS 2.3 states, “Where state standards or benchmarks exist for the subject area of the course, those standards must be accurately represented in the content and objectives of the course. Courses may be enriched by going beyond state standards or benchmarks, but, at a minimum, all of these standards must be met.”
That can be a challenge. As QM’s Quality Assurance Manager Mary Ann Zellman explains, “Where we see a problem is when the course content does not address all of the standards. We see this a lot with world language courses. Accepted content standards like the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) often include presentation descriptors. Yet many courses we review do not provide students with speaking opportunities.”
So what can you do to meet this Standard at 100%? As Krista Tomaselli from Michigan Virtual explains, creating a course map or correlation document that includes the state or other content standards can help, “I think part of the reason that we are able to easily meet this standard is because of our design process. We develop our courses with the help of design documents that show the alignment between the state standards and the learning objectives. This allows us to quickly recognize when an objective does not line up well with the standard and make an adjustment.”
Interested in how a correlation document could work in your process? Take a look at the document Michigan Virtual uses for its Geometry B course. In the document, the Common Core High School Geometry Standards are listed in the left-hand column. The corresponding objectives and assignments are listed on the right. Course developers are then able to see if the objectives and activities align with those Common Core Standards. In this case, you can see that they do. For example, under Unit 8 G.SRT.6 is listed. This represents the sixth Common Core Standard for Geometry (G) under Similarity, Right Triangles, & Trigonometry (SRT). This standard states that students must, “Understand that by similarity, side ratios in right triangles are properties of the angles in the triangle, leading to definitions of trigonometric ratios for acute angles.” You can then see under the objectives that that standard is met with the objective “Define trigonometric ratios.”
Course Representatives aren’t the only ones who struggle with this Standard. Course Reviewers do as well. Krista, who is also a Quality Matters Course Reviewer, believes a course map or correlation document would also be very beneficial for Reviewers, “When reviewers do not have an alignment document to help them evaluate this standard, they might find themselves attempting to create one of their own. This is time-consuming. Also, as a reviewer, I am more likely to err on the side of caution and mark the standard as “not met” if I cannot easily see the alignment of the objectives with the state or other accepted standards.”
If Standard 2.3 is not met at 100%, the review must be suspended. Avoid this by being prepared. In addition to reviewing Michigan Virtual’s correlation document, check out the K-12 Applying the QM Rubric Workshop and the K-12 Reviewer Course. Both of these professional development opportunities take a closer look at the Rubric and show you how to apply the Standards.