When we take time to reflect on what is meant by standards-based instructional design, we must first recognize that the standards are the focus of the instructional design, not the adopted textbook. Standards-based instructional design often uses multiple resources, electronic and non-electronic as well as human, to help students become proficient with the identified standards and objectives. These classrooms take on a different appearance and a different atmosphere as students work collaboratively to solve problems, find solutions and meet challenges presented to them. Not all standards-focused classrooms are Project Based Learning classrooms, but all quality Project Based Learning classrooms are standards-focused.
We are providing the link to an observation form that identifies the observable characteristics of a standards-focused classroom. Teachers may use this form to reflect upon the identified characteristics of standards-focused instruction in their classrooms or to particpate in peer observation with colleagues. Administrators may use it for classroom visits and subsequent discussions with staff or for data collection purposes related to schoolwide implementation of standards-focused instruction.