CSU California Academic Partnership Program

Instructional Leadership Initiative


The Instructional Leadership Initiative: Supporting Standards-based Practice is a project for California high school teachers, which is supported by a partnership between the Western Assessment Collaborative (WAC) at WestEd and the California Academic Partnership Program (CAPP).

WestEd is a non-profit, research, development and service agency and is designated as one of the nation's regional educational laboratories and the Western Assessment Collaborative is a program within WestEd. The WAC focuses on assisting schools and districts to establish standards for student and professional performance, developing systems to measure achievement of those standards and building the capacity and organizational culture to sustain standards-based accountability. WAC and their work around standards-based instruction was a good match for CAPP schools in that the work focuses on building the capacity of teachers to lead standards-based instruction in their schools. The CAPP was looking for a strategy for improving instruction and student achievement in the schools that they fund. The CAPP originating legislation (1983) specifies, that CAPP is to develop "cooperative efforts to improve the academic quality of public secondary schools with the objective of improving the preparation of all students for college." When they became familiar with WAC's work, the partnership began.

The goals of the Instructional Leadership Initiative are to develop the capacity for standards-based instruction throughout the school by building the skills of administrators, high school department heads, and other teacher leaders to:

  • Provide leadership to the collaborative development of standards-based units of instruction in language arts and mathematics tied to California state standards;
  • Facilitate their faculties to develop common assessments and to establish agreed-upon performance standards for those units;
  • Facilitate their faculties in using the data from student work to plan collective action designed to assure that all students achieve to the performance standard or higher; and to
  • Provide leadership to implement standards-based practice department-wide.

This website reflects the work that was either used and/or completed during the duration of the project. The website includes a facilitator's guide for "The Standards-based Instructional Planning Process: Backwards Mapping From Standards to Instruction," which contains some of the activities that were used while developing the instructional units. The website also provides some sample annotated standards-based instructional units for both high school English and mathematics that were created as a result of the work.

The Facilitator's Guide includes six modules that focus on the following:

  • Setting the Context for Standards-based Instruction
  • The Standards-based Instructional Planning Process-Backward Mapping From Standards to Instruction
  • Building Capacity for Standards-based Instruction
  • Using Student Work to Set Performance Standards and Develop Scoring Guides
  • Selecting Exemplars and Writing Commentary on Student Work
  • The Instructional Unit

The standards-based instructional units posted on this website are a result of the work of California high school teachers who participated in this project from January 2001 to June 2003. Teachers who participated are from the following schools/districts:

  1. Pasadena High School, Pasadena Unified School District, Pasadena
  2. Hoover High School, Glendale Unified School District, Glendale
  3. Orosi High School, Cutler-Orosi Unified School District, Orosi
  4. Lakewood High School, Long Beach Unified School District, Long Beach
  5. McClymonds High School, Oakland Unified School District, Oakland
  6. Jefferson High School, Jefferson Union High School District, Daly City
  7. Mojave High School, Mojave Unified School District, Mojave
  8. Inglewood High School, Inglewood Unified School District, Inglewood
  9. Morningside High School, Inglewood Unified School District, Inglewood
  10. Mar Vista High School, Sweetwater Union High School District, Chula Vista
  11. San Benito High School, San Benito High School District, Hollister
  12. West High School, Kern Union High School District, Bakersfield

Thirteen of the instructional units that were designed to be used in high school mathematics and English courses were selected to be annotated and posted on the CAPP website. The first page of the unit includes the annotation that describes the overall strengths and concerns of the unit. Columns on the right side of each page of the instructional unit contains comments that describe concerns or identify items that should be reviewed and possibly revised before using the unit with students and teachers.

The instructional units include:

  1. Background with Teacher to Teacher Notes
  2. Content Standards Addressed
    1. Content Standards
    2. Knowledge and Skills Students Need To Know and Be Able To Do To Meet the Standards
    3. Enabling Prerequisite Skills
  3. The Assessment (REVISED)
  4. Criteria for Success: Characteristics of a High Quality Response to the Assessment
  5. Opportunities to Learn and Perform
  6. Core Lessons are not included here
  7. The Performance Standard and Scoring Guide
  8. Samples of Student Work with Commentary based on the Original Assessment
  9. Student Forms
  10. Teacher Forms

It is our intention that teachers use the sections of the Facilitator's Guide that match your particular outcomes or goals and that teachers also review, revise as necessary, and use the standards-based instructional units that meet your needs.

If you have further questions regarding the use of these units or materials, please contact: Julie Torres at WestEd at 415-615-3111 or Jtorres@wested.org.


Content Contact:
CAPP Office
(562) 951-4780
Technical Contact:

Last Updated: June 09, 2016