As you are preparing to welcome students into your classrooms, you’re probably thinking a lot about how you are going to provide the best instruction for your students. Research studies have provided us with the top factors that increase student achievement. Strong teachers and principals with great leadership skills are two factors cited in many studies as central to improving student achievement. A third commonly cited factor in raising student achievement is teaching the standards. That sounds simple but it’s not.

To teach the standards, teachers must know what students are required to learn and demonstrate. If a teacher does not teach the material to the depth and complexity required by the standards, students may not succeed in that grade or subject, no matter how hard the teacher works.

To help educators teach what the standards demand, instructional materials must align to the standards. To be aligned, a lesson must meet the content, context, and cognitive rigor of the standard. In the next few weeks, our blog posts will address these three critical components of the standards.