This blog post was written by Jessica Arnold, Senior Program Associate, Center for Prevention & Early Intervention

Over the past two years, I have been working with WestEd colleagues, the Stanford Center for Assessment, Learning and Equity (SCALE), and educators from multiple states on projects that aim to help K-12 teachers align their instruction with the College and Career Ready standards.

This collaboration has been a very rewarding experience for our team, with many teachers across the country reporting that they feel much more confident about their ability to provide effective instruction aligned with the standards.

We’re proud to announce that some of the content that helped to instill this confidence in teachers is available on a new website, Understanding Proficiency.* We invite you to visit Understanding Proficiency for guidance and resources designed to help you provide instruction that, in turn, helps students develop more complex, integrated skills.

What’s unique about Understanding Proficiency? It uses the Smarter Balanced performance tasks to support professional development that can help inform and enhance instruction for all students. The site features scored student responses to Smarter Balanced performance tasks that are annotated by practicing educators to illustrate the full range of performance levels for each task.

Scored and annotated student work is available at all tested grade levels. You will find student answers to constructed response questions and to full-write essay prompts, providing examples of student work at each performance level for each item. Reviewing student work on performance tasks gives teachers richer and more detailed evidence of what students have learned, and where they need more experience and support.

Understanding Proficiency also offers videos of educators engaged in analysis and discussion of student work; interviews with educators about what they learned from scoring student responses; and professional development tools to support educators in using these resources for professional learning.

Visit Understanding Proficiency for English language arts resources at every grade level. We look forward to adding math resources in the future, so please check back for those. And we encourage you to share this online resource with your colleagues!

* The Understanding Proficiency content and website were developed with support from The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust.