Series Strengthening Lessons for the Common Core: Strengthening Lessons with a Student Work Protocol

Strengthening Lessons with a Student Work Protocol

Lesson Objective: Use EQuIP's Student Work Protocol to evaluate a lesson
All Grades / All Subjects / Collaboration


Enjoy your first three pieces of content for free. Subscribe for unlimited access.

Have questions about subscribing? Click Here to learn more.

Discussion and Supporting Materials

Thought starters

  1. How does this protocol foster standards-based discussions?
  2. Why is it useful to look at an individual piece of student work as well as a collection of it?
  3. How could you imagine using this protocol in your own district or school?


  • Private message to Avery Baird

I think getting feedback from other teachers is a great way to help you improve as a teacher and maybe even get a new perspective on how to teach the lesson in a more efficient way. Breaking down the lesson and standards for that grade and subject can also help a teacher to see where they may need to go back and revise the lesson plan with the feedback given. This is also a great way to see the way the students are responding to the lesson plan so that the teachers can again, go back and make revisions.

Recommended (0)
  • Private message to Michael VILLANUEVA
You probably got the answer to your question by now Julie but I just want to say that the best way to start is with your own students work as exemplars. I use that term loosely to mean either students work as proficient or developing or somewhere in between. The dialogue with your colleagues is priceless.
Recommended (0)
  • Private message to Julie Rodriguez
Are there Lessons with student work examples available to practice with?
Recommended (3)


  • Strengthening Lessons with a Student Work Protocol Transcript

    Speaker 1: We were noticing that some of the claims were very literal

    Strengthening Lessons with a Student Work Protocol Transcript

    Speaker 1: We were noticing that some of the claims were very literal -

    Speaker 2: Okay.

    Speaker 1: - so if you're specific in what you're expecting you might get a deeper response.

    Speaker 3: I think revising a lesson based on student work is a shift in thinking.

    Speaker 4: I think the alignment is clearly lacking here. So what can you do to change that?

    Speaker 3: It's about the discussion. It's about the thinking. It's about the unpacking of the standards. And it's about looking at the lens of the student.

    Speaker 5: Is there a more efficient strategy that you could use?

    Speaker 6: How are students responding to that lesson? And how are students responding to the tasks that we're creating?

    Speaker 7: My concern would be what level of words do you use so that a student actually understands what you're trying to get them to do.

    Speaker 6: So the student work protocol really facilitates deep conversation around student work, and around the standards, and around instruction.

    Speaker 8: Teachers are always looking at student work. It's just good practice. It's what they do day in and day out. And we saw a great value and opportunity to create a tool that was aligned to that and could support a practice that teachers do in their schools and classrooms on a daily basis. The equip student work protocol is designed to really provide qualitative feedback and suggestions for improvement as well as provide that reflection point for individual educators so that you can - in looking at student work - think back to the targeted set of standards, the purpose of instruction for the lesson or unit, and look again for the alignment.

    Speaker 9: So, today we gathered some educators from the state of Maryland to come together to collaboratively use the equip student work protocol.

    Speaker 8: We're going to look at a common lesson and unit divided by grade band and content area. So the English Language Arts folks are together. The Mathematics folks are together.

    Speaker 10: There are five steps in the student work protocol. Step one. Analyze the task. The first step puts a spotlight on the task itself without any background or additional information about the lesson's stated intentions or the student responses.

    Speaker 11: We want to begin thinking about, based on what we see from the student perspective, what the purpose and the demands of that task are. For each of the steps there are guiding questions that are also included within the student work protocol.

    Speaker 10: For English Language Arts this means that we closely read the text considering its level of complexity and studying the prompts and directions for the task.

    Speaker 12: So, I think this is the reading piece.

    Speaker 13: Right.

    Speaker 12: So, then the next making evidence based claims. So, they're not developing a claim. They're supporting a claim at that point.

    Speaker 10: For Math we study the directions and prompts and then actually work the problems in the task, considering all possible strategies that a student might use.

    Speaker 14: Like number one it's asking how much did she raise.

    Speaker 15: But it goes on and it says how many did she sell. I'm thinking multiplication and division.

    Speaker 16: I'm thinking that's part of the demands on the students.

    Speaker 17: Right.

    Speaker 10: For both content areas we take note of the task's purpose, the content addressed, the required performances, and which standards might align with it. The second step of the protocol looks at the task within the context of its lesson. It's important to note where the task falls in the scope of the lesson and if students are likely to be successful based on the scaffolding built into the lesson.

    Speaker 18: We did write on the chart paper if it's easier for you to access here the targeted standards and then the three practices if you want to refer to that as you're kind of grounding yourself in the larger unit.

    Speaker 10: A very important part of this step is a comparison of the requirements of the task to those of the standards targeted in the lesson.

    Speaker 19: They can come to any answers without using multiplication with repeated addition [piece?] -

    Speaker 20: Right.

    Speaker 19: - and if they solve it that way it's not adding -

    Speaker 20: [?].

    Speaker 19: - [danger?].

    Speaker 20: And in this case the children could go without ever touching multiplication.

    Speaker 10: In step three we are finally ready to look at the collection of student work samples. We try to look at each student's work separately. The student work analysis chart embedded in the protocol will help us keep track of what we see in each of the student work samples. In this step we compare each student's response to the task to our expectations formed in the first two steps.

    Speaker 21: You notice questions one and three require one step and they got them correct with no work but question two and four which required more than one step they got lost in the process.

    Speaker 10: In step four we compare the understanding of the individual students in our collection to each other and also to our findings from step one and two.

    Speaker 22: Now we're finding supporting evidence. That's good. So are there issues with the sequencing? It seems very clear.

    Speaker 10: We take note of which aspects of the tasks students have been collectively successful and what common errors were made. Throughout this step we need to be aware of how the task itself of the supporting instructional material contribute to the common successes or failures of the students.

    Speaker 23: Who had student one? Student one. What did you notice about it?

    Speaker 24: The claim student one made wasn't as strong as it could have been.

    Speaker 25: When it became translated to writing there was a weakness there.

    Speaker 23: Okay. Student two and three? Did you notice that same progression.

    Speaker 26: We thought that student two threw ten pieces of text evidence in without really analyzing them.

    Speaker 27: It seems like they haven't had enough modeling or enough time to make that jump.

    Speaker 23: So, the high achiever is struggling with that translation as well as the struggling learner.

    Speaker 28: That's where the power for teachers is to go back then into that unit plan and reflect on the instruction and say, "This is the way we taught it, but this is what we're learning now from the student work product."

    Speaker 10: In step five we use the insides gathered from the first four steps in the protocol that this particular task might be improved.

    Speaker 29: First individually teachers want to reflect on that process and then teams can come to a consensus and move forward.

    Speaker 30: Some students still need the supports of repeated addition to show the multiplication. Just simply asking them to show multiple representation, but show it in a different way, we could actually make it stronger or excellent by just changing a few words or adding another line to direction.

    Speaker 31: If you could just think of maybe one idea that you might suggest to improve or better align this plan with the standards.

    Speaker 32: Somewhere in the directions at the top they could specify using multiplication, division to solve the problems below or something like that in the directions.

    Speaker 31: So adding some directions to the prompt to make it clear.

    Speaker 33: Yes. That makes sense because it's going to get at the standard. However, the child who is not there yet is that going to shut them down so then you see nothing in terms of their progress towards the standard? Which begs the question of, "Do you put the change into the wording on the rubric, but then also share the scoring criteria with the children as they're solving it."

    Speaker 34: The analysis that that student work provides and the impact on the instruction is really very exciting.

    Speaker 35: When you really look at the student work you see gaps and holes and if you're not being critical you're not going to move forward.

    Speaker 8: This entire process is designed to elevate the professional judgment of educators and to provide tools and resources that they can use, that they can modify, adapt, make their own and can integrate into their ongoing efforts to close gaps and raise achievement.

    Speaker 36: This is a great process for even for you who works all by herself in her own grade level in a very small school, to use this to self assess -

    Speaker 37: Yes.

    Speaker 36: - you know is wonderful.


Melissa Fazzino
Andrea Broomell
Alissa Peltzman


TCH Special

Webinar / Engagement / Distance Learning

TCH Special

Webinar / Leadership / Distance Learning

TCH Special

Webinar / Engagement / Distance Learning

TCH Special

Webinar / Leadership / Distance Learning


Social Justice & Equity


Social Justice & Equity


Distance Learning


Professional Learning