Lake Washington School District is a “standards first” district. This means that teachers base all learning on current standards and assess student progress on these standards. Standards are learning goals for what students should know and be able to do at the end of each grade level. Standards help teachers ensure their students have the skills and knowledge they need to be successful, while also helping parents understand what is expected of their children.
Lake Washington School District uses four major types of standards:
- The Common Core State Standards (CCSS)
- The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
- Prioritized Washington State Standards, called Power Standards
- National Standards
Common Core State Standards (CCSS) are a common set of learning standards for mathematics and English Language Arts (ELA) that have been adopted by 45 states. Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) are a common set of learning standards for science and were adopted by Washington state in 2013. Having the same standards helps all students receive a good education, even if they change schools or move to a different state. Teachers, parents, and education experts designed the standards to prepare students for success in college and the workplace.
Prioritized Washington State Standards, or Power Standards, are standards for social studies and other content areas. These State standards were developed by teachers and education experts and were prioritized by Lake Washington teachers and experts.
Once parents, students, and teachers are clear about standards, assessments can be developed that show the exact level of proficiency on the standards for each child. The results of these formative and summative assessments provide valuable information to teachers regarding how students are progressing against the Common Core State Standards in English language arts and mathematics, Next Generation Science Standards in science, and on the district’s Power Standards in all other content areas. Teachers then use these results to guide instruction and to determine students’ day-to-day readiness for particular concepts and skills. Most importantly, assessment results help teachers answer four critical questions that serve as a cornerstone in LWSD instructional practice:
- Q. What is it we expect our students to learn? A. Standards
- Q. How will we know if each student has learned it? A. Assessment
- Q. How will we respond when some students do not learn it? A. Taking action on results.
- Q. How will we respond when some students already know it? A. Taking action on results.
Standards are critical in Lake Washington School District for personalizing learning for every student.