Equity and Excellence



Although Cogknow MSP is our flagship tool, high quality instruction should encompass cultural responsiveness to include all learners. To that end, Evolution Alliance has synthesized eight points of equity in its mission to instill joy in the learning process for all learners.

1) A guaranteed and viable curriculum (Marzano, 2000) requires stability, access, and relevance of standards for all students. Because Cogknow provides a field-tested, sound method for prioritizing standards, as well as unit, weekly, and daily lesson plans grounded in local relevance and metacognition, there is a higher probability that students will achieve greater levels of mastery that is fair and inclusive.

2) As teachers are designing high quality instructional experiences for learners, the structure in Cogknow will utilize  guidelines from Madeline Hunter’s approach to lesson plans (1985) including: an “Anticipatory Set, Guided Practice, and Closure” which is corroborated in Jensen’s work (1998) presented as “Priming, Processing, and Retaining for Mastery.”  This instructional design process creates a constant (stability) while allowing for divergent opportunities for personalized learning, differentiated instruction (Tomlinson, 1999), and multiple levels of intervention that move classrooms away from “cookie-cutter,” teacher-centered instruction that typically benefits more advantaged students.

3) Educators can take more concrete actions than giving “lip-service” to equity in their mission and vision statements by providing implementation supports and structures for learning that are achievable and accessible for all students. By identifying priority standards and levels of rigor, leaders can quickly pull this information from Cogknow at any point in a school year as a more efficient and effective feedback mechanism.

4) By identifying concrete levels of rigor using Karin Hess’s Cognitive Rigor Matrices (1999), teachers will codify the backwards mapping (Wiggins and McTighe, 1998) of rigor thoughout the school year, so that teachers can scaffold instruction that more closely aligns with students’ zones of proximal development (Vygotsky, 1978).

5) As teachers become more familiar with multiple levels of evidence by entering student performance data at the standards level, they will increase assessment literacy that Stiggins, Popham and others (2004, 2005, 2007) have revealed are necessary to create assessment capable learners (Hattie, 2009). Thus, students will ultimately become more metacognitive and “own” their learning.

6) When teachers and students co-create success criteria (Hattie and Donaghue, 2016), students can become as involved as their teachers in the assessment process. This outcome of a comprehensive, balanced assessment system (Darling-Hammond, 2015) is more focused on equitable systems of learning evidence to increase student performance through performance assessments and assessments for learning that guide talent development and career awareness (Renzulli, 2012).

7) The ability to identify various levels of text complexity can become part of the scaffolding process for learners when this information is identified by teachers for multiple texts in the course of a school year. Cogknow has the ability to track such data, so teachers may make the best decisions as they scaffold instruction.

8) As teachers move from Phase 2 (Planning for Instruction) to Phase 3 (Collaborating on Evidence for Mastery) of Cogknow, “apples to apples” comparisons may be made based on assessment evidence in cohorts of students that will identify learning gaps for struggling students. In this way, educators can provide more equitable solutions for all learners.


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Darling-Hammond, L. (2010). Performance Counts: Assessment Systems that Support High-Quality Learning (Rep.). Washington, D.C.: Chief Council of State School Officers. doi:https://www.hewlett.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Performance_Counts-Assessment_Systems_that_Support_High-Quality_Learning.pdf

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Wiggins, G. P., & McTighe, J. (2008). Understanding by design. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.