Teachers are often upset or confused when they are handed a pacing chart by their principal, curriculum director or central administration. As teachers, they know what to teach and when to teach each objective that needs to be covered in their grade level and/or content area. So why do they need a chart? One more piece of paper they have to keep up with!!
It is really not all that bad. A pacing chart is a guide for teachers to show them how much content should be covered during each week, grading period or month. It is a tool for the teachers and should not be addressed as or considered a burden.
State and local assessments are mandated, as we all know, whether we like it or not. They are a form of accountability. Considering the time of testing and the number of standards/objectives that must be covered, the pacing chart can assist teachers in accomplishing that goal.
Research has proven that greater student achievement occurs when the class flows smoothly and is well organized without being regimental. Pacing charts can help teachers become better organized. In fact, many schools now send home simplified pacing charts for parents and students to view what lesson topics are being covered, as well.
Organization is a must in any classroom situation. The more organized the teachers are, the better chance that they can actually teach the students the course curriculum within the scope and sequence of the calendar school year.
Therefore, we can see another reason supporting the validity of pacing charts being available and readily accessible for teacher implementation.
However, there do exist pacing charts that are so complicated and detailed that teachers cannot use them effectively. The design and precise language used in developing pacing charts is the key to assisting teachers.
The following is a list of important, yet simple elements that need to be included in designing and implementing successful pacing charts.