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What If…. Peggy Maki Education Consultant Specializing in Assessing Student Learning Presented at AAC&U’s GE and Assessment Conference, Boston, March 1, 2013. What if….

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What if

What If…

Peggy Maki

Education Consultant Specializing in Assessing Student Learning

Presented at AAC&U’s GE and Assessment Conference, Boston, March 1, 2013


What if1

What if…..

You became and were recognized as an Expert in Misunderstanding, using your expertise as the basis of systemically collaborating with colleagues to innovate curricular and co-curricular design, pedagogies, assignments, and educational practices to improve or advance All students’ enduring GE learning?


You specialized in learning about ways in which students

You specialized in learning about ways in which students……

  • Misunderstand

  • Misinterpret

  • Miscalculate

  • Take unsuccessful approaches to

    • solving a problem

    • undertaking a task or set of tasks


What if

  • Hold onto incorrect myths, beliefs, misconceptions, or knowledge that, if not addressed early in students’ journey, account for immediate difficulties students encounter or longer term difficulties as they continue their studies.


What if

  • Have difficulties in moving from knowledge to understanding to transfer and application (depth of initial learning makes a difference—how well do students acquire initial learning?) Land, Meyer, Smith, 2010


What if

  • You knew when or who else asked your students to draw on, apply, or reuse what you expected them to learn?

  • You knew about the challenges or obstacles or trouble spots your students faced the next time they were asked to draw upon, apply, reuse, or integrate what you expected them to know?


What if

  • You knew where and how well students traveled with what you taught them or positioned them to learn in your GE classes?

  • You knew no one asked your students to use that learning after your course.


What if

Student A: “I don’t really like history. There is too much to try to remember. And it is all about olden times-- with a lot of dates and different wars and people doing things we don’t do any more. I am finished with that required course anyway.” (inert)

Student B: “We learned how to tell the difference between ‘facts’ and how different people filter and interpret the facts depending on their own interests. We also learned to examine texts– to point out and discuss what was left out of the different texts we read. I find that I do that now in my other courses.” (activated)


What if

What if your institutions valued you for

  • Identifying the range of chronological challenges or barriers your students encounter and then

  • Innovating proven practices that chronologically address challenges, barriers or trouble spots students face along the trajectory of their education so that increasingly more students succeed at higher levels of achievement?


What if

  • Learning more about what you do not yet know, as well as for what you do know

  • Collaboratively designing methods of inquiry into students’ learning and meaning-making processes (inquiry groups, learning circles, learning communities)


  • Why become an expert in misunderstanding

    Why Become An Expert in Misunderstanding?


    What we know about learners

    What We Know About Learners


    What if

    Threshold Concepts: pathways central to the mastery of a subject or discipline that change the way students view a subject or discipline, prompting students to bring together various aspects of a subject that they heretofore did not view as related (Land, Meyer, Smith, 2010).


    What if

    Learning Progressions: knowledge-based, web-like interrelated actions or behaviors or ways of thinking, transitioning, self-monitoring. May not be developed successfully in linear progression--thus necessitate formative assessment along the trajectory of learning. Movements towards increased understanding (Hess, 2008).


    How could you become an expert in misunderstanding

    How Could You Become An Expert in Misunderstanding?

    • Take a backward designed problem-based approach to assessment—

      • With colleagues, agree on what you expect students to demonstrate at the point of graduation (summative assessment)

      • At the point of matriculation use assessment as your baseline lens to identify patterns of initial difficulty (baseline assessment)

      • At a point or points along the trajectory of learning use assessment as your formative lens to track and monitor student progress (formative assessment)


    What if

    AAC&U’s Quantitative Literacy Rubric

    • Interpretation

      • Ability to explain information presented in mathematical forms (e.g., equations, graphs, diagrams, tables, words)

    • Representation

      • Ability to convert relevant information into various mathematical forms (e.g., equations, graphs, diagrams, tables, words)

    • Application/Analysis

      • Ability to make judgments and draw appropriate conclusions based on the quantitative analysis of data, while recognizing the limits of this analysis


    What if

    • Assumptions

      • Ability to make and evaluate important assumptions in estimation, modeling, and data analysis

    • Communication

      • Expressing quantitative evidence in support of the argument or purpose of the work (in terms of what evidence is used and how it is formatted, presented, and contextualized)


    How does this commitment to assessment work

    How Does this Commitmentto Assessment Work?

    • Couple your outcomes with research or study questions such as—

      • What kinds of erroneous ideas, concepts, processes, or misunderstandings initially interfere with students’ abilities to reason quantitatively? How long do those ideas, concepts or misunderstandings persist and, thus, inhibit students’ abilities to develop

        enduring learning?


    What if

    • What approaches do successful and unsuccessful students take to solve problems that require quantitative reasoning?

    • What strategies do student use to restructure intuitive, yet incorrect, approaches to solving problems that require quantitative reasoning?

    • What conceptual or computational obstacles inhibit students from shifting from one form of reasoning to another form, such as from arithmetic reasoning to algebraic reasoning?


    What if

    • Why do students have difficulty transferring knowledge or skills from one course to another one or to another context? (approaches to tasks, incorrect concepts or constructs?)

    • How well do stand-alone skills-based courses, such as mathematics courses, prepare students to integrate or apply those skills into future course work?


    Identify or design assessment methods that provide evidence of product and process

    Identify or Design Assessment Methods That Provide Evidence of Product and Process


    Direct methods to learn about learning processes

    Direct Methods to Learn about Learning Processes

    • Think Alouds: Pasadena City College, “How Jay Got His Groove Back and Made Math Meaningful”(Cho and Davis)

    • Word edit bubbles

    • Observations in flipped classrooms

    • Students’ deconstruction of a problem or issue (PLEs in eportfolios can reveal this—tagging, for example)


    What if

    • Student recorder’s list of trouble spots in small group work or students’ identification of trouble spots they encountered in an assignment

    • Results of conferencing with students

    • Results of asking open-ended questions about how students approach a problem or address challenges


    What if

    • Analysis of “chunks of work” as part of an assignment because you know what will challenge or stump students in those chunks

    • Use of reported results from adaptive or intelligent technology

    • Focus on hearing about or seeing the processes and approaches of successful and not so successful students


    What if

    • Writing beyond what is visually presented during a lecture

    • Identifying clues to help organize information during a lecture

    • Evaluating notes after class

    • Reorganizing notes after class


    What if

    • Comparing note-taking methods with peers

    • Using one’s own words while reading to make notes

    • Evaluating one’s understanding while reading


    What if

    • Consolidating reading and lecture notes

    • Sharing practices on how to organize, think, and memorize content

    • Evaluating one’s own understanding

    • Monitoring the effectiveness of note-

      taking practices (Yu, 2010)


    Some indirect methods that probe students learning experiences and processes

    Some Indirect Methods that Probe Students’ Learning Experiences and Processes

    • SALG (salgsite.org): Student Assessment of Their Learning Gains

    • Small Group Instructional Design

    • Interviews with students about their learning experiences, about how those experiences did or did not foster desired learning, about the challenges they confronted


    What if

    1.

    Identify The Outcome or Outcomes You Will Assess

    2.

    State the Research or Study Question You Wish to Answer

    3.

    Conduct a Literature Review about That Question.

    8.

    Share Developments within and outside The Institution to Build Knowledge about Educational Practices.

    4.

    Develop a Plan to Collect Direct and Indirect Assessment Results that Will Answer Your Question.

    7.

    Implement Agreed-upon Changes and Reassess.

    6.

    Collaboratively Discuss Ways to Innovate Pedagogy or Educational Practices

    5.

    Analyze and Interpret Students’ Work and Students’ Responses.


    What if

    Soft Times and Neutral Zones


    What if

    What if we….

    Collaboratively use what we learn from this approach to assessment to design the next generation of curricular and co-curricular design, pedagogy, instructional design, educational practices, and assignments to help increasingly more students successfully pass through trouble spots or overcome learning obstacles;


    What if

    And, thereby, collaboratively commit to fostering students’ enduring GE learning in contexts other than the ones in which they initially learned.


    Works cited

    Works Cited

    • Cho, J. and Davis, A. 2008. Pasadena City College. “How Jay Got His Groove Back and Made Math Meaningful.”http://www.cfkeep.org/html/stitch.php?s=13143081975303&id=18946594390037

    • Hess, K. 2008. Developing and Using Learning Progressions as a Schema for Measuring Progress. National Center for Assessment, 2008. http://www.nciea.org/publications/CCSSO2_KH08.pdf

    • Land, R., Meyer, J.H.F., and Smith, J. Eds. 2010. Threshold Concepts and Transformational Learning. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.

    • Maki, P. 2010. 2nd Ed. Assessing for Learning: Building a Sustainable Commitment Across the Institution. VA: Stylus Publishing, LLC

    • National Research Council. 2002. Knowing What Students Know: The Science and Design of Educational Assessment. Washington, D.C.

    • Yu, C. Y. “Learning Strategies Characteristic of Successful Students.” Maki, P. 2010. p. 139.


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