Understanding the Texas Standards

 

A professional development system that ensures common understanding of the content standards is described as a precondition for success for Premise II.g within Creating a New Vision for Public Education in Texas:

II. g Content standards should serve as frameworks that assist teachers and students in creating learning experiences that motivate student success.

Common understanding of the standards comes as a result of access to clarification resources and intentional, quality discussions within Professional Learning Communities.  It is important for educators and campus administrators to recognize that with each interpretation of the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS), the integrity of the document is subject to compromise.  Therefore, the value of primary source documents cannot be over-emphasized.  Resources from the Texas Education Agency, linked later in this post, should be viewed as the highest of quality.

The image below shows three levels of TEKS interpretation with the primary level (resources provided by TEA) at the center, secondary resources (those provided by Region Service Centers) next, and tertiary resources (those created by other Mathematics Instructional Leaders in the outer band.

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Three Levels of TEKS Interpretation

In order to attain level 4, as described within the High Level Alignment Indicators in the Implementation Matrix for this Premise, it is important for content standards to be linked, translated, and clarified into curriculum tools to support teachers and students in creating challenging and motivating learning experiences/tasks.  Such translation for the mathematics standards may be based on resources provided by the Texas Education Agency.  This practice of utilizing primary source resources is an intentional act to minimize any compromise of the integrity of the standards.  The following three resources are examples of primary source resources:

  • Supporting Information
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Supporting Information
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Vertical Alignment Charts

An example of a Student Expectation that may be clarified with the resources listed above is from grade 5:

5(4)(F) Algebraic reasoning. The student applies mathematical process standards to develop concepts of expressions and equations. The student is expected to simplify numerical expressions that do not involve exponents, including up to two levels of grouping.

Supporting Information about this standard includes:

  • An example of two levels of grouping is (3 + 7) ÷ (5 – 3).
  • Students are expected to use the order of operations to simplify numerical expressions.
  • Because fluency with addition and subtraction of positive rational numbers is expected within the TEKS, expressions may include fractional values when adding or subtracting.
  • Exponents are included in grade 6(7)(A).

As district-level curriculum writers prepare to link, translate, and clarify the content standards into curriculum tools, it would be beneficial to reference primary source resources as to preserve the integrity of the standards.

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