We know, according to Article III (Assessment for Learning): Assessment should be used primarily for obtaining student feedback and informing the student and the teacher about the level of student conceptual understanding or skill development so that the teacher has accurate information to consider for designing additional or different learning experiences.
As we work toward providing ongoing feedback to our students, as well as providing opportunity for students to self-assess, self-monitor, and advocate for themselves related to the current level of conceptual understanding, we look to the strategies used in the classroom to implement these assessments. Do you recognize the variance in cognitive demand, or complexity of such classroom assessments/tasks? Not all strategies are equal. Some activities we ask our students to complete require recitation of knowledge and demonstration of understanding of an idea or concept. Other activities ask students to make connections between ideas, extend thinking, and justify similarities and differences. Finally, there are tasks that require the use of imagination and creativity to create a representation of understanding.
As we look to opportunities for self-assessment as assessment for learning, we must design with intent.
Throughout the learning process, teachers integrate academic vocabulary acquisition opportunities with the best of intentions. From word walls to Frayer Models, vocabulary strategies are apparent and sometimes plentiful in early childhood through high school classrooms. Teachers provide opportunities for students to dive into academic terms in ways such as pre-teaching and word study. We must, though, acknowledge the variance in the tasks we ask our students to complete as we look to embed formative and self-assessments and assign these tasks with purpose. Three levels of task complexity are described below.
- Capture: Strategies at this level include opportunities to capture thinking, demonstrate understanding, and archive learning. Tasks designed to capture thinking include brain dumps and visual synectics.
- Connect: Strategies at this level include opportunities to make connections between ideas, extend thinking, and justify similarities and differences. Tasks designed to connect thinking include hexagonal thinking and mind mapping.
- Create: Strategies at this level include opportunities to use imagination and creativity to create a representation of understanding. Tasks designed to show creativity while thinking include stop motion moves and which one doesn’t belong.
Want to explore more opportunities for students to capture, connect and create? Download this (free!) book in the iBooks Store using this link:
This book is meant to serve as a resource in lesson design for classroom educators. It is my hope that you will find opportunities for your students to use creativity and critical thinking when building concept connections. Beyond vocabulary acquisition, the development of these connections builds understanding and leads to long-term learning.
The chapters in this book are organized by the cognitive demand, or complexity, required to complete given tasks. I encourage you to challenge yourself to use a variety of strategies as you capture, connect, and create.
If you would like to discuss strategies for students to capture, connect, and create, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me (Mary). My contact information is available on the Authors tab at the top of this blog.