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Big Picture Learning Goals

Our assessment system is based around two sets of goals – five school-wide Learning Goals and each student’s own personal goals. Woven throughout all of the goals is the belief that learning should be authentic and meaningful, as well as a commitment that each student should become a life-long learner.

Big Picture Learning Goals are tools for problem solving and offer a framework for looking at the real-world knowledge and abilities necessary to being a successful, well-rounded person. They are not content-oriented curricula, nor are they completely distinct categories. Each goal focuses on an aspect of reasoning or community behavior. Students’ learning and project work will often incorporate many overlapping elements of the Learning Goals.

Empirical Reasoning: “How do I prove it?”

This goal is to think like a scientist: to use empirical evidence and a logical process to make decisions and to evaluate hypotheses. It does not reflect specific science content material, but instead can incorporate ideas from physics to sociology to art theory.

Guiding Questions:

  • How do I design this research project?
  • How can I analyze the information; what does it tell me?
  • How do I discuss errors?
  • What idea do I want to test (essential question)?
  • What has other research shown?
  • What is my hypothesis?
  • How can I test it?
  • What information (data) do I need to collect?
  • How will I collect the information?
  • What will I use as a control in my research?
  • How good is my information?
  • What are the results of my research?
  • What conclusions can I draw from my research?
  • How will I present my results?

Quantitative Reasoning: “How do I measure, compare or represent it?”

  This goal is to think like a mathematician: to understand numbers, to analyze uncertainty, to comprehend the properties of shapes, and to study how things change over time.

Guiding Questions:

  • How can I use numbers to evaluate my hypothesis?
  • What numerical information can I collect about this?
  • Can I estimate this quantity?
  • How can I represent this information as a formula or diagram?
  • How can I interpret this formula or graph?
  • How can I measure its shape or structure?
  • What trends do I see? How does this change over time?
  • What predictions can I make?
  • Can I show a correlation?

Communication: “How do I take in and express ideas?”

This goal is to be a great communicator: to understand your audience, to write, to read, to speak and listen well, to use technology and artistic expression to communicate, and to be exposed to another language.

Guiding Questions:

  • How can I write about it?
  • What is the main idea I want to get across (thesis)?
  • Who is my audience?
  • What can I read about it?
  • Who can I listen to about it?
  • How can I speak about it?
  • How can technology help me to express it?
  • How can I express it creatively?
  • How can I express it in another language?

Social Reasoning: “What are other people’s perspectives on this?”

This goal is to think like an historian or anthropologist: to see diverse perspectives, to understand social issues, to explore ethics, and to look at issues historically.

Guiding Questions:

  • How do diverse communities view this?
  • How does this issue affect different communities?
  • Who cares about this? To whom is it important?
  • What is the history and how has the issue changed over time?
  • Who benefits and who is harmed through this issue?
  • What social systems are in place around this?
  • What are the ethical questions behind this?
  • What do I think should be done about this?
  • What can I do?

Personal Qualities: “What do I bring to this process?”

This goal is to be the best you can be: to demonstrate respect, responsibility, organization, leadership, and to reflect on your abilities and strive for improvement.

Guiding Questions

  • How can I build skills for success?
  • How can I demonstrate respect?
  • How can I empathize more with others?
  • How can I look out for my health and well-being?
  • How can I communicate honestly about this?
  • How can I be responsible for this?
  • How can I persevere at this?
  • How can I better organize my work?
  • How can I better manage my time?
  • How can I be more self-aware?
  • How can I take on more of a leadership role?
  • How can I work cooperatively with others?
  • How can I enhance my community through this?