Power Standards Explained

6As Process

What are Power or Essential Standards (I Can Statements)?

Power Standards are the learning goals that matter the most and are most critical for students to achieve prior to leaving their current grade/class. They represent those standards teachers will spend the most time emphasizing. Power Standards, once mastered, give a student the ability to use reasoning and thinking skills to learn and understand other curricular objectives. Power Standards do not represent the total curriculum, but are the essential learning outcomes for all students. Students will be exposed to all of the standards for their grade level or course but to a lesser degree.

Student mastery of the standards is measured through state assessments (Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment-MCAs) and local assessments.

New York Mills Power Standards have been written from the student's point of view and are posted in classrooms as a reminder to students of skills they need to master.

These Power Standards are posted here to serve as a resource for parents and others as a way to aide their students in attainment of the essential skills and content at each grade level or course.

In some academic areas, the standards are not currently posted due to changes in curriculum. New York Mills Power Standards are subject to amendment throughout the school year.

Power Standards = more time and emphasis
Complementary Standards = supports the Power Standards
Remaining Standards = less emphasis and time

A full list of the Minnesota Academic Standards can be found on the Minnesota Department of Education website

Why Power Standards?

Teachers lack a 400 day school year and students with photographic memories. There are simply too many standards. Power Standards narrow the focus of academic planning and instruction and point to what we want to guarantee in terms of learning. In striving to cover all standards, we end up superficially "covering" (viability) everything and as a result students are not given the opportunity to learn.

  • "...the standards across 14 subject areas would require 15,465 hours to address adequately, but there are only 9,042 hours of instruction available" (Marzano, p 27).
  • US Mathematics textbooks cover 350% as many topics as Japanese textbooks cover, yet Japanese students significantly outperform US students in mathematics (TIMSS-Schmidt, McKnight, and Raizen, 1996).
  • Marzano worked with 10 mathematics educators to identify which NCTM (National Council of Teachers of Mathematics) standards, out of 741, were essential.
    299 were identified as essential by all 10 educators. That's about 40%.
    45 were not identified by any of the 10 educators. That's about 20%.
  • "...schools should provide clear delineation of content that is essential versus that which is supplemental..." (Marzano, p 28). Robert Marzano, What Works in Schools: Translating Research into Action.


How are they identified?

  •     What essential understandings and skills do our students need?
  •     Which standards and/or indicators can be clustered or incorporated into others?



The Identification Process:

Three full days spent with each content area represented K-12, with all NYMs teachers participating in the process.

  •     Individual selection
  •     Grade level collaboration and consensus
  •     Test and item specifications reference
  •     Adjacent grade level collaboration and consensus
  •     Vertical alignment K - 12


What are the benefits?

Increased student achievement BECAUSE of:

  •     Teacher clarity on what students should know
  •     Focused instruction
  •     Coherency throughout K-12 system
  •     Purposeful Collaboration
  •     Grade Level/Grade Band
  •     Content Area
  •     Multi-level (Elementary-Middle-High)
  •     Focus on preparing students for college, career and life