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Essential Learning Outcomes

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Every course at Park Hill South has identified a set of Essential Learning Outcomes (ELOs) that each student should master.  ELOs have been identified by teachers as the most important big ideas or concepts within a course’s curriculum, and may include one or more learning standards. "Mastery" of an ELO is defined as a level of understanding that gives students the best opportunity to be successful at the curriculum or experiences that follow that learning outcome. For example, a student must master solving equations before graphing equations or identify a theme within an essay before defending or opposing its stance.   


Mastery: Proficiency

Park Hill South believes mastery, or meeting proficiency, is not completed at the same time by each student. In fact, each student’s life experiences (academic as well as social and emotional) facilitate his/her learning. Similar in that every student learned to walk at a different age, each student will master ELOs at different times within a course.  Teachers partner with students to facilitate the level of knowledge students shall master to be successful in the next unit, course or grade level.

Four Levels

At Park Hill South, essential learning outcomes are written at four levels of understanding, Advanced, Proficient, Basic, and Below Basic. These levels are consistent with current outcome terminology found on standardized assessments to help students understand if they are meeting standards at a particular grade level by being proficient or above.

This example demonstrates four levels of an ELO that we would want every student to master in this "walking" course. The four levels are written in this manner to facilitate interventions for students at the levels of Basic or Below Basic, as well as extensions for students Proficient or above.  Students (and teachers alike) clearly understand the depth of knowledge each learner has achieved to determine appropriate interventions or extensions. Interventions that students and teachers often use can be, but are not limited to; tutoring during tutorial time (30 minutes in the middle of the day), utilizing 5th Hour, or goal setting, etc.  See our Academic, Behavior, Social and Emotional Support Website for all intervention. 

Grading in Infinite Campus

Our professional learning communities will mark ELOs in their gradebook.  Since the gradebook can only communicate through numbers, each level is given a corresponding number; Advanced is 4, Proficient (Mastery) is 3, Basic is 2, and Below Basic is 1. Inputting these scores as a learning community facilitates the analysis of the data to make appropriate educational decisions as professionals to improve teaching and learning. 

The purpose of this data tracking is not to assess percentages.  For example, 3 out of 4 is a 75%, which is correlated to a grade of C. However, proficiency is mastery in our case and 3 out of 4 is positive; therefore, these ELO scores are not incorporated into the overall grade of the student.  They are worth 0% of the overall grade and are noted as an excluded.


There is a clear benefit for parents and guardians being aware of these scores. This is why they are in Infinite Campus.  If your student is showing a score of a 2 or 1, they should be partnering with their teacher to gain a better understanding of the material.  Remember, ELOs are the big ideas of the curriculum, and proficiency (score of 3) is written at the level of understanding for a student to be successful at what comes in the course or future courses. 

Professional Learning Communities

ELOs are driven by Park Hill South’s Professional Learning Communities, or PLCs. These communities are course-specific. For example, all world history teachers meet together regularly to build consensus around their ELOs, which are deployed to all students in the course.