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Standards-Based Learning System Summit

Introducing an all-new 3-Day Summit

Implementing a Standards-Based Learning System:
Structures, Systems, and Strategies

Developed in partnership between

Erma Anderson & the NESA Professional Development Advisory Committee

January 23-25, 2020

The American International School of Muscat, Oman

In Conjunction with the NESA 2020 Winter Training Institute


Make learning the goal of assessment!

In this 3-day summit, we will explore practical systems, structures, and strategies that support the implementation of a Standards-Based Learning System. Come with your team to dig deeper into Standards-Based Grading and unlock the full power of Standards-Based Learning. Standards, curriculum, instruction and assessment must be aligned in order for us to grade and report in a meaningful way. We will share our successes and challenges, and examine the pedagogical shifts essential to making student learning the goal in your classrooms. Your team will leave with new ideas on how to adapt and implement a Standards-Based Learning System within your unique school setting.


Schools just beginning the transition to a Standards-Based Learning System or a few years in are encouraged to send a representative team of 3 to 5, including teachers and at least one administrator.
Register teams over three, and get the fourth registration free!

Why this Summit?

The premise of Standards-Based Learning is that every student can reach higher levels of achievement if certain criteria are met. To this end, a Standards-Based Learning System integrates teaching, learning, assessing, and grading in an ongoing teaching/learning cycle that guides students towards meeting grade-level learning targets. Learning is the focus: a well-implemented Standards-Based Learning System creates a culture where learners and teachers view teaching as a means to achieving proficiency, rather than points or grades.

Transforming your school to a standards-based culture of learning can be messy. To succeed on the journey, two elements are required: Standards Literacy (fluency in reading and interpreting a Standards document) and Standards Alignment: ensuring the Standards guidelines, curriculum and instruction are in tight alignment, with the Standards driving what is being taught and assessed in the classroom.

Professional development in this area and the successful implementation of a standards-based culture of learning is the foundation of changing and improving any learning system. It will open the door to continuous improvement and healthy dialogues, and greatly serve the school community—educators, leaders, students, and parents.

How will we learn?

The Summit will answer the following questions:

  • What does it mean to be Standards-Based or Standards-Referenced?
  • How do standards influence curriculum, instruction, and assessment, and how does that transfer into grading practices?
  • What does Standards-Based Grading in a Standards-Based Learning System look like?
  • What supports are needed for stakeholders (educators, students, parents) as they navigate these changes?
  • What are common challenges faced in implementing standards-based learning and grading?

Teams will set a goal early to guide their learning and doing, then explore one or more areas in depth with facilitation.

Each day will be balanced between:

  • Full Group Time: establish common knowledge, build group understanding, and reflect on learning in order to plan next steps.
  • Breakout Time: dig deeper into different aspects of Standards-Based Grading.
  • Team Time: reflect on what has been shared and work collaboratively towards your goal.

Change is messy and never easy. Change with a purpose though can be beneficial. When that change is for the betterment of our students and their learning it cannot be underestimated.
— Abe Rodemeyer


Articulate Desired Results

Implement content standards that describe what a student should know and be able to do at a given grade level.

Develop Targeted Assessments

Implement an assessment system that calls for students to demonstrate analytical thinking skills and deep content knowledge.

Design Effective Instruction

Implement a well-designed standards-based curriculum that teachers use to ensure their instruction focuses on these standards.

Monitor & Communicate Learning

Implement a grading and reporting system which uses academic performance indicators to communicate student progress.

Key Components & Guiding Questions

  1. Vision: Why develop a Standards-Based Learning System?
  2. Leadership: To what extent does leadership empower the staff, and encourage commitment, participation, and shared accountability for student learning?
  3. Alignment of Curriculum, Instruction & Assessment: To what extent does the documented, implemented and assessed curriculum align?
  4. Stakeholders: How has the community been involved in development?
  5. Professional Development: To what extent does evidence of student learning drive Professional Development opportunities?
  6. Monitoring & Program Evaluation: To what extent does data drive monitoring and evaluation?
  7. Reporting Student Learning What is the purpose of the report card?

Expectations & Outcomes

  • Become familiar with the research and history behind the standards-based learning system movement.
  • Examine and reflect on “what” systems and structures must be in place to effectively develop and use standards-based reporting.
  • Explore how different schools have developed systems of practices, processes, and routines for developing and implementing a standards-based learning system that includes standards-based reporting.
  • Reflect on your school’s journey to date; share successes and challenges with your peers.
  • Leave with new ideas on systems, structures and strategies you can use to implement an Standards-Based Learning System in your unique school setting.
When systems jump too fast to changing the report card, they miss the richness that students experience when they engage in meaningful work based on learning that is essential to their success in the future – their next grade or course, in life, college, career or whatever they choose to pursue. We want to open doors for students to consider the possibility and engage them in ways that inspire and promote hope versus quantifying learning in ways that shut learners down.
— Nicole Dimich Vagle