Kathleen + Caren

Are on the Map

Meet Caren and Kathleen, authors of the book Rethinking Letter Grades and master educators. Their goal, to provide the best learning environments for students, motivated them to create a five-step process of teaching and assessing using “Learning Maps.” This process, creating “big ideas,” describing levels of performance, and selecting and matching evidence of learning to descriptions, clearly showed students their strengths and helped them to succeed.

Building and using learning maps is the foundation of QUIO. Creating learning maps may be a new process for you, and you may have questions along the way. We have provided FAQ here for you, but if you don’t find what you are looking for, just ask. Caren and Kathleen are here to answer your questions.

Who sees the Learning Map? Is it something that is just for teachers? Or do students see it too? What about parents and guardians?

We started out creating Learning Maps for our own use, so that we could ensure that we had aligned our prescribed learning standards with our students’ evidence of learning – that is, it showed us the lay of the land. In our task of determining a summative letter grade, we interpreted the evidence in the maps, rather than adding it up.

For several reporting periods, because we didn’t have the confidence to share them with our students and parents/guardians, we were the only ones who would see the Learning Maps. Then, when we tried them out with some parents and guardians and students, we saw the potential they had for starting conversations about the learning and decreasing the focus on the numbers.

It didn’t take long, however, before showing the Learning Maps became a regular and essential part of our reporting conferences. For many parents and guardians, this was their first opportunity to see in a concrete way what standards-based reporting was all about: the alignment between what their son or daughter was to learn, the evidence selected to show it, and their level of performance for this reporting period.

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