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Department of Education
Educational standards describe what students should know and be able to do at each grade level and in each subject. While numerous states have adopted similar standards for English and math since 2010, the California Board of Education ultimately determines what the standards will be for our state's public schools. Learn more about California's standards from the state Department of Education.
The Depth of Knowledge chart is a useful tool for determining how deeply a student knows and uses content or material. It breaks learning into four levels — each important in its own way — and helps teachers assess how well a student has mastered a standard or concept.
As you look at the chart, consider the types of activities your student does in alignment with his or her learning. Is the student being asked to move into Level 3 and 4 within a lesson? It is very appropriate to begin with Levels 1 and 2. but it is also important to move the student to a deeper level of understanding by incorporating questions and activities based upon Levels 3 and 4.
California's educational standards include descriptions of the knowledge, skills and behaviors referred to as "Habits of Mind," which complement the academic content. These Habits of Mind offer a description of students who, upon graduation, are prepared for college, career and working in a global economy. You will find them by viewing the following documents: Capacities in English-Language Arts and Practices in Mathematics. Students should be encouraged to practice and master these behaviors within their learning process.
The focus in writing will gradually shift as students progress from elementary to middle school to high school. The goal is move students from conveying their personal experiences to being able to research, evaluate and argue — or debate — the thoughts and ideas of others in a way that requires support and evidence. This Shifts in Writing Chart reflects when and how the shifts will take place.
Aligned with California's current state standards, students will be reading more informational text as they progress through grade levels and spans. This Shifts in Reading Chart reflects when and how the shifts will take place.
High quality literature will always be a cornerstone of every students’ curriculum, but as we focus on college and career readiness, there is a need to ensure that students also know how to read, evaluate and utilize the kinds of informational, non-fiction sources used in college and career settings. This shift will require teaching students how to read different types of informational texts — including journals, charts, graphs, scientific documents and primary sources. This provides an opportunity to connect student learning to real life and deepen their understanding of key concepts and standards.
Connected to increased reading of informational text is a focus on teaching literacy (reading, writing, speaking, listening and thinking) not just in English-language arts but in all subjects. All teachers, beginning with grade six, will be required to teach literacy within the content area. This will look different in every classroom. In science, students will read, write, think, and speak like a scientist. In history, they will do so like a historian, and in math, like a mathematician. This shift will allow even greater opportunities for students to utilize the unique academic vocabulary of each subject and communicate their learning in a variety of ways. This is also a way that real-life, authentic assignments can be embedded within all subjects.