World Class Outcomes
Beginning with the end in mind: World Class Outcomes
The Douglas County School District’s Guaranteed and Viable Curriculum (GVC) begins with World Class Outcomes that we want all of our students to reach.
These high-level outcomes are based on the Colorado Academic Standards, which are required items all students must learn. DCSD worked with teachers to increase the rigor, building outcomes that require higher-level thinking, as defined by Bloom’s Taxonomy, a classification of levels of intellectual behavior. Researchers have found that when students utilize the higher levels of thinking, including analyzing, evaluating and creating, they are able to better retain the skills they have learned.
Traditionally, education has focused on the process of memorization and regurgitation of fact, which are lower-levels of thinking, as defined by Benjamin Bloom and his team of educational psychologists.
DCSD’s World Class Outcomes span from preschool to twelfth-grade have been broken out into grade level and subject areas, by the World Class Education department to help guide teachers.
You can read through the entire GVC at https://www.dcsdk12.org/world-class-education/gvcs
Example of World Class Outcomes: 12th Grade English
- Strategically create meaning through complex writing and speaking
- Defend metacognitive process in a quantitative and qualitative method
- Demonstrate the process of inquiry:
- Create expert analysis through the inquiry process
- Craft an argument by evaluating evidence anticipating counter claims
- Justify and defend solutions to socially responsible problems from multiple perspectives
You may notice that outcomes were built to be broad and spanning.
“They are those much bigger, broader transferable skills,” explained DCSD Elementary Curriculum Coordinator Kara Tidemann
“They are intentionally [broad], because there are so many different avenues that students can take. It is possible to change the content and still accomplish the same outcomes,” DCSD Secondary Science Curriculum Coordinator Erik Prouty explained.
This provides teachers an unprecedented amount of freedom in the classroom, allowing them to engage students in content that interests them.
“I no longer felt the constraint of having to master this very pointed set of facts, for instance having to cover every explorer that had ever traveled across the globe or to make sure every child knew all 50 states and their capitals,” Tidemann said. “It was a realization that maybe content wasn’t as important as what they were able to do when I really started being purposeful in helping grow their thinking skills. It really opened up a lot more possibilities for my kids and for myself as a teacher.”
While this provides students the ability to lead their learning, teachers still act as guides, ensuring that they master important skills, standards and content along the way.
“That can be a big shift for teachers. I was use to being the expert in the room. I felt like I needed to have all the answers. We are asking teachers to take off the expert hat and move more to a facilitation of student learning. Jump in there and say, ‘Kids, I don’t know all the answers. Let’s look for the answers together. Let’s be inquirers'. It’s a really powerful shift for kids,” Tidemann said.
Really focusing on the end, from the beginning, also helps teachers to better structure lessons, choosing activities and assessments that accomplish the outcomes.
“If this [World Class Outcome] is my end goal and this is where I want to try to help my kids to get; what does that look like from the very beginning? Suddenly, what I did in my classroom was much more intentional, much more purposeful and much more specific to what my kids needed,” Tidemann said.