Task topics take the focus off local content and place it directly on universal thinking skills. Regardless of your state’s standards, task topics can become the center for designing units. PARCC has used this approach in designing its Common Core ELA/Literacy assessment. By using PARCC’s assessment blueprints as a template, any school or teacher can design a standards-based curriculum and write a standards-based assessment. In the test specification documents (accessible here on the PARCC website), PARCC outlines grade-level standards to be assessed through specific task topics. Imagine, teachers, if you adopted similar performance task as units of study! The task could take many forms: speeches, presentations, and/or visual representations. Each of these forms could meet reading, writing, and speaking and listening standards in challenging and engaging ways. Click here to download my grade-by-grade summary of PARCC’s lengthly documents: Standards-based Unit Task Topics.