The Standards Streamlining Project (SSP), a partnership with the Hawai’i Department of Education (HIDOE), reexamined and recommended modifications to the Hawaii Content and Performance Standards III (HCPS III) benchmarks in the core areas of English language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies. The primary goal of the project was to better focus teaching and learning by identifying essential core content, reducing the number of benchmarks, and clarifying the language in those benchmarks. Drawing on CRDG’s expertise, standards from national organizations and selected highly regarded states, and reviews by content experts, project staff recommended focused changes while maintaining the high level of rigor of Hawai’i standards that compares well to exemplary states.
As part of the streamlining process, CRDG sought the insight and feedback of the product’s end user, HIDOE teachers. Formative field reviews of the streamlined benchmarks conducted on O’ahu and Kaua’i between March and May enabled staff to gather data directly from teachers in different schools and complexes. Twenty-three elementary, middle, and high schools were represented with 200 teachers providing valuable feedback that led to final recommendations that were presented to the HIDOE in June.
The second phase of the project, which began in July and will continue through 2010, focuses on creating a systematic approach to designing professional development (PD) that aligns with national PD standards. Using CRDG’s PD design expertise and drawing on seminal pieces of research on effective PD, project staff are creating a guide and toolkit to help educators at all levels (school, complex, or state) design, implement, and evaluate PD that results in improved teacher knowledge of content and pedagogy, and ultimately in improved student learning.
Work also began on developing a principal survey and teacher focus group interview questions to gather baseline data about current PD practices. These data will be used in evaluating the utility and effectiveness of the completed PD design guide.