Sunday, July 31, 2011
Curriculum - Part V
Friday, July 29, 2011
Curriculum - Part IV
- External - Assessments that are designed, selected, and controlled by another person or group, apart from the class teacher. Typical examples of external assessments include standardized and commercial reading tests. These assessments have been used as indicators of both the educational achievement of students and the quality of instruction in schools.
- Common - Assessment that is given to a group of students where the data is used by multiple teachers. These can include grade wide reading, writing or numeracy assessments. Their purpose is to determine the understandings and competencies for a grade or level.
- Chunk - Chunk assessments are those that are given within a class at the end of a chunk of learning, such as a Unit of Inquiry. These assessments measure individual progress and determine the level of understanding a student has reached as a result of a chunk of learning. The data from these assessments is used by the individual teacher. An example could be a contextual task given by the teacher based on a unit of work.
- On-going - Similar to the chunk assessment, on-going assessment tasks also measure individual progress and the data is used by the teacher alone. The difference between on-going and chunk assessments is that on-going pieces can be administered throughout the learning to provide a clearer picture of how the students are progressing through their learning and what directions they need to be taken in next. An example of this could be a quiz.
Curriculum - Part III
CONCEPTUAL STANDARDS should be:
- Conceptually driven
- Revisited using different illustrative content
Example: Skill group - Language for Learning
Learners are able to use language effectively to achieve a wide range of purposes with a wide range of audiences.
Example (exploring the procedural standard example above):
Learners are able to structure, sequence and connect information in texts in ways that are most likely to achieve their purpose.
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Curriculum - Part II
- The Who - Students constructing understanding.
- The Why - What is the driving purpose of the school?
- The What - What do we want the students to understand, know and be able to do?
- The Whether - How will we know?
- The How - How will we get them there?
- Tightly connected to the learning that takes place in the classroom.
- Indicative of the kind of students that the school aims to produce.
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Curriculum - Part I
Thursday, July 14, 2011
Saturday, July 9, 2011
What? Why? How?
There are many techniques teachers can employ in order to create effective assessment pieces. When writing summative assessment tasks, or culminating performances, a trap that sometimes occurs is that the piece is superficial and there is no opportunity for students to demonstrate deep understanding. One way of ensuring that this doesn’t happen is to use a simple formula called ‘What, Why How’ (Erikson, L., 2002).
Each subtitle is used to formulate the assessment task. First, you ask what it is you want the students to do. Erikson suggests using a higher-level cognitive verb, such as analyse, evaluate or investigate when writing this part. For example, ‘analyse the development of technology in sports performance in the 21st Century’. Next is the why part, and this can be prefaced by the words ‘in order to’. We are asking, ‘why we are performing this task?’ What are the transferrable lessons to be gained from this? For example, ‘in order to understand how technology advances performance’. Finally we state how we want our students to demonstrate their understanding. Erikson states that this is the most important step, as we need to ensure that we are asking our students to demonstrate the ‘why’ as well as the ‘what’ of the task. If we only ask them to show their understanding of the ‘what’ then the assessment piece will be shallow and not provide opportunity for deeper understanding.
Following the theme in the above example, students could be asked to explain (through a choice of mediums) how technological advances have shaped the development of a product they have created. They could design the product themselves or pretend they have invented one that already exists. The important part, however, is that they can explain the relationship of technology to the impact of their product. This way, they wouldn’t only have to be limited to sport and they could call upon other areas to compliment their understanding. Transport, leisure and communication are just three examples that could be used. This way we are not just asking them to list facts about technological advances in sports performance, but to explain their understanding at a conceptual level.
Using this format allows teachers to ensure that the assessment pieces provoke deep understanding. One of my goals for this year is to revise, along with my team, the assessment pieces in my grade level to ensure that they are facilitating deeper levels of conceptual understanding and not just focusing on facts. This will lead to more meaningful assessment tasks and aid in raising standards.
Friday, July 8, 2011
Over part of my holiday I was lucky enough to explore the Burgundy region of France. It was beautiful and it was nice to spend some time with my entire family for the first time in six years – the wine certainly helped!
On one of the days we went on a wine tour and the guide was asked what vintages were considered good for this region. Like a good salesman, he answered that ‘every year for these grapes are good years!’ The point that he was trying to make is that each year is different. This may be due to the amount of sun the grapes see for that year, the slope of the limestone in that particular plot, the humidity, and the amount of rainfall – the factors are too many to list.
When it comes to considering whether or not a year is a ‘good’ year, it is not necessarily the vintage of the grape (although this can help) but the taste buds of the consumer that decides. People’s tastes are different and it is up to them to decide what they do and do not like. Also, the way the final product tastes one year may not be the same as the next so the wine is constantly changing. Our guide was most unimpressed with the way the some wines are produced to taste exactly the same out of every bottle, instead of individualized each year.
On the car ride back to our accommodation, I began thinking how this can be very similar to teaching. Each student we teach is different and there is no one way (or vintage) that is right for each person. Our future depends on us not producing students that are exactly the same as each other. We are not in an industrial economic age anymore and, as far as ‘intellect’ is concerned, ‘book smart’ people are not the only ones who have valuable ideas to contribute to our societies. There are dangers of confirming to standards and this is something that we need to consider when standardizing education. What we need for the future is not the same version of one vintage, but a variety of vintages each with their different strengths.