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1 The Evolution of Standards-Based Education in Science

Robert J. Marzano Marzano Research ePub

In previous decades, educators in the United States called for K–12 science standards that schools could broadly implement across the country. These requests ultimately prompted the development of comprehensive science standards such as the National Research Council’s (NRC; 1996) National Science Education Standards (NSES) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s (AAAS) Benchmarks for Science Literacy (1993, 2009). These documents enjoyed extensive use and adaptation throughout the U.S. and often guided the development of individual state science standards (Colorado Department of Education, 2009; Massachusetts Department of Education, 2006; Minnesota Department of Education, 2009; Wyoming State Board of Education, 2008).

However, the NSES and the AAAS Benchmarks were originally published in 1996 and 1993 respectively. In 2010, the release of the widely adopted Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in English language arts (ELA; National Governors Association Center for Best Practices & Council of Chief State School Officers [NGA & CCSSO], 2010a) and mathematics (NGA & CCSSO, 2010b) confirmed that these previous science standards documents needed to be updated. As Achieve (n.d.a) noted, during the fifteen-year period between the publication of both science standards documents and the CCSS, “major advances in science” warranted adjustments to K–12 science instruction. Aside from the demand for an up-to-date curriculum, new science standards were needed for at least four additional reasons.

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3 Proficiency Scales and Classroom Instruction

Robert J. Marzano Marzano Research ePub

Effective instruction begins with effective planning, and use of a proficiency scale often optimizes the planning process. To illustrate, assume that a middle school teacher is planning instruction for a set of lessons on the measurement topic of Water and Earth’s Surface using the proficiency scale shown in table 3.1.

Table 3.1: Middle School Proficiency Scale for the Measurement Topic of Water and Earth’s Surface

The proficiency scale in table 3.1 is from part II of this book (page 55). As described in chapter 2, the score 3.0 content for each proficiency scale in part II was taken directly from the Next Generation Science Standards’ (NGSS; NGSS Lead States, 2013) performance expectations (though we paraphrased the associated clarification statements in parentheses). Researchers then used the score 3.0 content to inform the score 2.0 content. For planning purposes, however, a teacher might want to augment the scales with additional content. In fact, we strongly recommend that teachers add content or change the language of proficiency scales to tailor them to their own needs. With this in mind, teachers might add the following.

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Appendix D | A Model of Effective Instruction

Robert J. Marzano Marzano Research ePub

Providing Scales and Rubrics

The teacher provides a clearly stated learning goal accompanied by a scale or rubric that describes levels of performance relative to the learning goal.

Tracking Student Progress

The teacher facilitates tracking of student progress on one or more learning goals using a formative approach to assessment.

Celebrating Success

The teacher provides students with recognition of their current status and their knowledge gain relative to the learning goal.

Informal Assessments of the Whole Class

The teacher uses informal assessments of the whole class to determine student proficiency with specific content.

Formal Assessments of Individual Students

The teacher uses formal assessments of individual students to determine student proficiency with specific content.

Chunking Content

Based on student needs, the teacher breaks the content into small chunks (that is, digestible bites) of information that can be easily processed by students.

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7 - Definition Shmefinition

Lindsay Carleton Marzano Research ePub

For upper elementary through high school language arts, math, science, and social studies


This game, modeled after Balderdash, requires little or no knowledge of the relevant terms and phrases. In fact, the fun of the game is not knowing the definitions. It can be played in any content area (language arts, math, science, and social studies), and is best suited to upper elementary through high school students.


You will need a basket or bowl and a dictionary.

Set Up

Prepare a list of at least ten to twenty terms ahead of time (only you will see the list). Be sure the definitions for your terms are in a dictionary or similar reference book.


First, break the class into teams of three, four, or five. Give one team the dictionary. You begin by writing the first term on the board and saying it aloud. On your signal, the team with the dictionary looks up the real definition of the term and writes it down while the other teams work together to come up with their best guess as to what the word means. They can use knowledge of prefixes, roots, and suffixes as well as any background knowledge. For example, if a fifth-grade class is analyzing the word autobiography, one student might pick up on the root auto- and suggest the word had something to do with performing an action without thought, like automatic. Another student might know that a biography is the story of someone's life because she sees her dad reading biographies at home. The group might put together these and other suggestions to write the definition, “Autobiography: the things in life we all know are boring but still have to do.” You might even ask students to write the word in a sentence. Their definition will probably not be correct, but the important thing is that students have seen and started thinking about the word.

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Part III Tier 3 Vocabulary Terms From the Common Core State Standards

Robert J. Marzano Marzano Research ePub

part III contains Tier 3 domain-specific terms from the CCSS. In our analysis of the CCSS, we sought to include every important word that appeared in the grade-level standards. Additionally, we included terms that appeared in an earlier compilation of vocabulary from standards documents (Marzano, 2004). Please visit marzanoresearch.com/commoncore for a complete alphabetical listing of the terms in this section and the sources of each term. Teachers can use the appendix (page 215) to locate specific words in parts II and III.

Because the words in part III are all subject-specific (math or ELA), they are organized into measurement topics rather than categories (as in part II). A measurement topic is simply a category of related words. Also, because there are approximately ten times as many terms in part III as in part II, providing descriptions and examples (as in part II) for each Tier 3 term was beyond the scope of this work. In lieu of descriptions and examples for the part III terms, each term in part III is accompanied by a suggested grade-level range. This allows teachers to quickly locate appropriate words for their current topic of study at their assigned grade level.

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