Monday, February 22, 2016

Adapting Scope and Sequence for Remediation

Like many schools, we have students in every grade who start the grade with unfinished learning/misconceptions/gaps in standards that fall under previous grades. We operate with a general policy of trying to remediate through grade level standards—as an eighth grade teacher I am teaching primarily eighth grade content and always using that as the starting point/end goal of any reteaching of prior-grade-level content. However, we have not done very much work to make sure that this happens in a systematic way. I was really excited when the Standards Institute addressed exactly how necessary and challenging this work was and provided a framework for thinking about how to do this type of Tier 1 intervention.

This slide from the Standards Institute (Day 3 powerpoint for all of the math groups) illustrates how students will fall further behind and never be able to catch up if we spend a significant amount of time filling gaps in isolation from the current grade-level content.

As an alternative, they offered these ideas about where and what to remediate. The idea is to make a strategic plan instead of trying to review everything or only reacting after the fact to what you have learned about students’ foundational knowledge.

While this generally matches how I have been trying to remediate, I really appreciate how clearly and intentionally this process is laid out. As someone who is in a department where we don’t use a curriculum and primarily write our own sequencing and pacing, I think that this work is really our next step in building vertical and horizontal coherence. I am extremely excited to take this framework to my team for when we are doing our big-picture planning.

The Standards Institute also introduced me to two amazing tools that will be essential to this work:
1) Zimba Wiring Diagram: One writer of the common core’s interpretation of how the standards connect to each other both between- and within- grades.
2) Coherence Map: This is an interactive map that allows you to “zoom in” on the wiring map. You can choose a standard to start from and then follow it to a connection of your choice.
3) Content Emphases by Cluster: This designates which clusters are major, supporting, or additional standards. Shockingly, I had never seen this before.


  1. Super helpful. This is also how I think about scaffolding vs. modified instruction, but I love that you found such clear resources to spell it out.

    1. I am interested in your scaffolding vs. modified instruction interpretation. Would you say that scaffolding is the figuring out when/where to scaffold into the grade level standards whereas modified instruction is inserting whole other units?

      One point that our facilitator made as we were talking about this model is that this is real a Tier 1 intervention for students who have gaps. I think that sometimes it is necessary to do a Tier 2 intervention for some students that does involving eliminating/replacing whole units.