Education standards require ‘unpacking’ or build-out to define exactly what knowledge and skills to teach. This step allows specific content to be sequenced, grouped into units and allocated class time for balanced coverage – all before writing lesson plans.
What is the right level of specificity for the build-out of knowledge and skills? The answer is simple – it’s the grain size that is easily teachable and measurable, the classroom operational level.
The operational level can support development of instructional materials, teaching and managing student learning. The operational level is efficient because it's easily understood by everyone and requires no translation to develop instruction plans or communicate with students and parents.
Doing the standards build-out by using examples can be helpful, but in the end, examples cannot be left to define the requirements. Each operational level content item must be defined with specifics, including the cognitive level and limits as appropriate.
The Knowledge and Skills Library contains the content that connects everything in the system together. The Institute maintains the classification taxonomy and harvests scientific data to evolve the learning pathways between knowledge and skill items. The content data with their pathway relationships support teacher development of cohesive curriculum and the identification and closure of critical learning gaps.
The Institute's tools allow the user to specify course content scope using the Knowledge and Skill Library as the reference. Because the content definitions exist in the Library, a course scope is simply a checklist of content for the course with planned cognitive levels of achievement. Defining this scope drives curriculum development and is the basis for tracking student learning progress.