My interest in the idea of sharing pedagogical purposes comes directly with the contact I have had with the Project for Enhancing Effective Learning at Monash University in Australia. Now each of these teachers were very active in establishing learning agendas with their classes. The impact they were having was inspiring. Each classroom tool can have a purpose beyond delivering content, and this needs to be shared.
I suppose the purpose of this website is collate, crystalise and open dialogues about how to increase this within classrooms. As the quote from Carl Bereiter illustrates this classroom methodology can empower our students.

Friday, 25 September 2009

Comparing a (more) Tradional approach to marking to SOLO taxonomy

Following on from my last post, I have just marked the same class set of books. This time how ever was much more content focused, I'm trying to find out what if anything my students have learned. So my feedback this time is purely around Science content.

I am pleased to report that I only spent the same length of time as my previous marking effort, and I have managed using my level ladders gathered a small quantity of information about my students. Namely can they distinuguish between an Element, Mixture and Compound. I also feel more able to attach a SAT level to their knowledge. So not that useful really. I feel I have learned nothing about them as students (except two) and my feedback is limited.

A note on my codes. BM is Book marked, OBS is observed during lesson and DQ is when I have directly questioned a student around this concept.

I know patience is the key with this kind of marking and that over the course of a module a level ladder will allow me to collect a lot of valid information about where academically my students are. It's just going to take hours and hours. I will point out that I'm not intending on collecting all the evidence by marking books and have planned activities that will allow me to observe this learning. I also have planned questions to ask during lessons that will reveal who understands and who doesn't. All will be recorded , valued. and reflected upon.
The two students who are a bit different are a difficult boy who I now know understands alot more than he will let me know and a girl who knows abit but has no eye for detail so that despite understanding the lesson her work misses the point. For the boy, It has allowed me to praise genuinely for once.
I do feel better about this marking than I would normally as i have been marking against learning intentions. A proven effective strategy. I was also able to set each student individual tasks to clarify, consolidate and extend their ideas. Set at the begining of my lesson, they students responded well, question themselves and each other about what they learned last lesson. It's this connection that is the real value of my effort marking books. It is also useful to compile these findings for the whole class to provide real evidence to base "moving on" decisions.

But, I must confess that in terms of real ( not fact or content based) learning, the feedback focused on one thing, and is not transferable, nor progressive, whereas the feedback I gave them using SOLO taxonomy is. I have already planned their next assessment task and it is based around SOLO. I'm looking forward to putting this "transferability" and of course my students to the test.

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