Are you in a school or district that requires that you post learning goals with Marzano Scales in your classroom? Are you evaluated based on Marano’s framework or iObservations? Have you tried using a general scale in your classroom but they just don’t seem to get the kids progressing? This blog post is for you! I share some of the mistakes I made when I started, and ideas for more effective strategies.

Marzano Myths-Mrs. L's Leveled Learning
Marzano Scale General Descriptions

1. I can use a general scale for every topic. Nope. Tried it. The problem with a general scale is that it is too vague! Marzano said “clear” goals and that isn’t clear if there aren’t any examples! Provide written examples! Even if it’s just on your SMARTboard the first day you introduce them. Save the examples for reference every day you cover that content. Better yet, print them and post them next to your scale to help your students self-assess each day.

General Marzano Scale for any Subject


2. My students can assess their own level on a scale by choosing a number and holding up their fingers to show me. Not likely! Finger accuracy is questionable since kids aren’t the best at self-evaluation. The younger they are, the more this is true! Again, use some kind of examples, quiz, assessment, at least the first day you introduce something so you have written documentation that you can double check later!

Counting Fingers 1-4

3. The only purpose of scales is for kids to self-assess in the classroom. Oh, no! Marzano scales lend themselves easily to differentiation because the small steps leading to the goal are already planned for you! But… you can’t really plan differentiation if you don’t remember who was a 1-2-3-4! It’s helpful to have some kind of documentation to refer to when you sit down to plan for the next day, week, or unit! If you use small groups, centers, special resource coaches or volunteers, you know which kids need what without wasting time!4MD1 Math Test with Marzano Scales

Click here to see more examples of quizzes and assessments that you could use to establish a starting place for each child. These resources are available for grades 1-8 here.

4. I don’t actually have to write down where kids started from. They’ll remember. Doubt it! Showing kids their own progress is part of what makes Marzano scales powerful! Your students will be more motivated to move forward if they know that they are getting credit for knowing something. They don’t have to learn everything right away, just one step at a time! It’s hard to show kids how much progress they’ve made if they don’t really remember where they started. Document their starting place and ending place! Here’s a few ideas:

Use daily reflection sheets (for older kids).

Weekly Reflection Sheet PNG
  Use portfolios with coloring spaces or reflections sheets.


Slide05Student portfolio Reflection Sheet












(Click here to get these Student Portfolio Pages for Free! Just click on your grade level under “Categories.” Grades 1-8.)

5. I will post scales on the board and refer to them whenever I remember, that should be good, right? Not good enough to make significant progress. In order for your students to pay attention to their own learning they have to be examining the scale daily. Make it a routine for them to pre-test, post-test, and self-check progress during every standard or unit you teach. Marzano’s research (2009) states that even though “Tracking Learning Goals with Scales” can produce gains of 34 percentile points (!), this strategy produces a “High Probability” not necessarily a “High Yield.” That means IF YOU DO THIS RIGHT, YOU WILL SEE RESULTS. You will do this right if you are consistent in implementing scales so your students have the chance to develop the habit of self-reflection.

Add quote about dependence on teacher implementation! –

Part of making this work is using scales consistently! Presenting them , assessing them, tracking them has to work it’s way into your classroom routine if you want to see that progress!

If you’re looking for some materials to help you create, present, organize, assess, or track Marzano scales, I have a ton of FREE sample links under my FREEBIES tab.

If you want to see an example of how I organized my own classroom materials to assess and track Marzano scales, watch this quick video tutorial on YouTube. Follow the link to view and please leave a comment! I’d love to know what your struggles, victories, and ideas are! 🙂

Thanks for stopping by,

Mrs L Signature



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