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Tiered Lessons – Content by Readiness. Project Aspire Broadcast 9 – Focus on Assessing Concepts Sara Delano Moore, Ph.D. Where have we been? Basic strategies for differentiation Essentials of classroom management Tiered lessons around process and product
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Tiered Lessons – Content by Readiness Project Aspire Broadcast 9 – Focus on Assessing Concepts Sara Delano Moore, Ph.D.
Where have we been? • Basic strategies for differentiation • Essentials of classroom management • Tiered lessons around process and product • Tiered lessons adjusting content based on skill knowledge • What’s next? • Tiered lessons adjusting content based on student readiness based on conceptual knowledge
What is readiness? • Readiness is the way we determine if a student is learning at grade level, above grade level, or below grade level. • Readiness can vary from topic to topic within a course. • Readiness can be assessed both formally and informally.
Assessing Readiness • Informal assessments include • Anecdotal records • Information from a cumulative folder or other outside sources • Performance on related tasks • Formal assessments are tasks specifically designed to check readiness for a given topic.
Pretesting Concepts • Assessment of concepts is more difficult than assessment of skills • Skills tend to be uni-dimensional and discrete • Concepts tend to be multi-dimensional and interwoven • Pretests such as those we discussed for skills are typically not efficient for concepts • Focus here will be on pre-assessments in formats other than tests
What is a concept? • Clear definitions are essential to designing effective pre-assessments. • Are there key terms/parts students should know? • In what ways do those parts interact? • What are some practical applications of the concept? Why is it important/relevant?
Simple Machines • Can students recognize each of the simple machines? (e.g., match a see-saw to a lever) • Can students take a compound machine and identify the simple machine components? (e.g, an axe is a wedge and a lever) • Can students describe how a simple or compound machine makes work easier?
Photosynthesis • Can students identify the input and output chemical compounds? • Can students tell where photosynthesis happens? (at what level of detail?) • Can students tell why photosynthesis is important for plants? For humans?
Fusion/Fission • Can students connect these terms to the energy which holds an atom together? • Can students distinguish which is the joining of two atoms and which is the separation of an atom into two parts? • Can students name some of the nuclear particles involved in the reaction? • Can students make a connection between these reactions and nuclear energy? • Can students make a connection between these reactions and the formation of elements in the early life of the universe and/or the reactions occurring in the sun?
Regression/Curve Fitting • Do students recognize that a curve can sometimes be fit to a given data set? • Do students recognize that the relationship could be linear, quadratic, or exponential? • Can students match the appropriate curve to a given data set? • Can students find the equation for a curve after matching it to a data set? (by hand? With technology?) • Can students give a real-world example of data which would fit each curve type?
How to assess concepts? • Your clear definition of the concept provides a foundation for assessment tasks and questions. • Identify short answer questions to address each element of your definition • Identify an appropriate, brief performance task where necessary
When to assess concepts? • Short answer questions can be given at the end of a test/quiz. • Short answer questions can be given as an exit slip in a prior class session. • Performance tasks can be given while students are rotating through learning stations. • Students can come at another time (before school, at lunch, in study hall, etc) to complete performance tasks.
Alternate Methods of Assessing Concepts • You can have a class discussion around the key elements of the concept and keep anecdotal records. • You can invite students to participate in small group discussions during learning station time or at a time outside class, again keeping anecdotal records.
How to assess mastery? • By breaking the concept down into key elements, you begin to create a scoring rubric for mastery of the concept. • Questions to consider… • Is it possible to master one aspect of a concept and not another aspect? • How much detail do you expect in student understanding? • Are you going to pre-assess “cold” or after a brief, whole-class introduction?
Now I have groups… • More often, when assessing concepts, you’ll have two groups – one with mastery and one without. • You may create three groups by looking at mastery of concept and skill, mastery of skill without mastery of concept, and mastery of neither concept or skill. • This is where you make sure the “above grade level” group has opportunities to study the AP prerequisite skills and knowledge information which goes above and beyond the state standards.
Concept & skill not yet mastered • These students need to build background knowledge and review or learn the prerequisite skills and concepts for the information. • Student tasks should be clearly structured and include a great deal of scaffolding. • Your goal is to help the students get to the standard.
Skill mastered, concept not • Assignments should reinforce skills and push students to apply learning in new ways. • Work on building from doing the skills to using the big ideas. • These are the students who can be successful with procedural display but don’t seem to understand the big idea.
Concept and Skill Mastered • These are our target in Project Aspire. • These students already know the basics and can meet the state standards. • These students should be pushed to ensure readiness for AP coursework by focusing on the AP Prerequisite Skills and Knowledge. • This is a time to find some of those “I wish I could do that” experiences.
Getting Started • Exempt students in this group (above level) from some assignments, especially those focusing on skills. • Consider combining two or three smaller assignments into one longer assignment. • Use a pre-existing assignment as a starting point for a more advanced task. • Consider giving these students an independent study task.
End of Unit Products • Remember that students should have a mix of performance/application assessments and skills assessments. • Think about the assessments we shared when we discussed tiering lesson products. • Conceptual pre-assessments looked at the individual pieces; end of unit assessments should expect students to pull it all together.
Coming Next • In March • Independent study contracts • Pulling it all together
Assignment for Next Session • Identify elements of the major concept for your next unit. • Select and/or create pre-assessment items for these essential elements. • Administer your pre-assessment. • Make adjustments to assignments during the unit based on pre-assessment results. • Report your experiences on the online form.