The Critical Concepts
Research indicates that most standards documents articulate far more content than can be taught in the time available to K–12 teachers. In response, analysts at Marzano Resources sought to identify, as objectively as possible, a focused set of critical concepts for each K–12 grade level in the content areas of English language arts (ELA), mathematics, science, and social studies.
Our process for identifying and articulating critical concepts in ELA, math, and science involved eight phases, which are described in the report The Critical Concepts (Final Version: English Language Arts, Mathematics, and Science). The descriptions of phases 1 through 5 explain how we identified measurement topics in the areas of ELA, mathematics, and science (these measurement topics are listed in appendices A, B, and C of the report). The descriptions of phases 6, 7, and 8 explain how we created proficiency scales, or learning progressions, for each of the measurement topics. This report also articulates guidelines that purchasers of the Critical Concepts proficiency scales can use to validate and customize the scales for their local standards and students.