Objectives/outcomes are transparent and student-friendly

Outcomes are the coin of trade for everything that happens in a mastery system. There is much to say about creating an effective system of outcomes. In brief, consider these aspects as you design your system of outcomes.
    Aligned to school-wide philosophy and practices
    Granularity: the Goldilocks metric (not too big, not too small, but just right)
    Alignment: Aligned to or in support of CCLS and NYS Standards
    Fruitful connections/analogies/distinctions between disciplines
    Expressed in student-friendly, academic language
    Durable skills students can develop over time
    Measurable
    Relevant and useful, worth returning to over time
    Spiraled to track progress over time


A note on language: Learning outcomes should be stated in terminology that students can grow to understand and use comfortably. However, outcomes should also be stated in academic language, to support students in learning, owning, and using Tier 2 academic vocabulary terms. (These are general, non-discipline-specific terms that are needed for success in school, and are useful across content areas. Examples: compare, infer, discover, experiment, describe, etc.) 


Because transparency is such a paramount value in a mastery-based classroom, the best balance must be struck between academic terms and student-friendly language. The best and, in truth, only genuine way to gauge how well students share understanding of outcomes, rubrics, assignments, etc. is to seek their input about all aspects of the curriculum, and to engage in tweaking and shifting to keep striking the best balance between academic terminology and student-friendly language. (Ask students to review your draft rubric and to highlight the parts that they genuinely understand. The most beautiful rubric is for naught if students are not able to understand it. So, either terms must be taught and used in the classroom in a way that leads to genuine, full shared understanding among all participants in the classroom—or you risk leaving behind some of the students you are there to support toward mastery.)

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