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Establishing Clear Targets: Grade Group follow-up

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1 Establishing Clear Targets: Grade Group follow-up
Review key ideas from June 29th session Use time to work in groups on a specific subject area to convert learning targets into student friendly language. Look at what our next steps might be with this process, as a grade group.

2 Assessment for Learning Organizer
How will we know they learned it? Where am I now? What do we want students to learn? Where am I going? We are learning the foundation skills in assessment for learning – “Where am I Going” What do we do when they have or haven’t learned it? How do I close the gap?

3 Today’s Intended Outcome
…to focus on the importance of student learning outcomes in learning.

4 Pre-Learning Questions
What’s the benefit for spending valuable class time in writing out or verbalizing curricular outcomes? Can students even understand the outcomes the way they are written? What are the current levels of involvement with this group in using SLO’s (specific learning outcomes)as part of teaching strategy? When this is in place, what does it look like for teachers? Students?

5 Without Clear Targets We Can’t Do Any of the Following…
Know if the assessment adequately covers and samples what we taught. Correctly identify what students know and don’t know and their level of achievement. Plan next steps in instruction. Give detailed, descriptive feedback to students. Have students self-assess or set goals likely to help them learn more. Select instructional activities that actually help students achieve the target.

6 “Students can hit any target they can see that holds still for them”
Rick Stiggins, 2004

7 “…a possible reason for low achievement…may be that many students do not understand what they are supposed to learn.” Frederiksen and White, 2002.

8 Clear Targets Impact on students: Impact on teachers:
More focused (especially underachieving students). Demand learning target. More likely to express learning needs – specifically. Develops a learning culture. Quality of work improves. Behavior improves. Persevere longer. Greater ownership of learning as responsibility shifts from teacher to student. Automatically self-evaluative. More enthusiastic about learning. Impact on teachers: More focused. Sharpens teacher understanding of learning target. Expectations rise. Focus on quality rather than getting everything done. More critical of activities. Reinforces relevant vocabulary. Assists in reflection of lesson and learning that occurred. Strengthen connections with parents related to child’s strengths and weaknesses.

9 The general effect of setting goals or objectives produces a gain of between 18% and 41%) [Marzano, Classroom Instruction that Works, p. 93]. 34% Why is it important to focus on student learning outcomes?

10 FACT: Many students focus on what they are doing as opposed to learning.
     for example: Ask a child what they learned today, and most will draw a blank.  Ask a child what they did today in class and they will likely be able to tell you - "we did a math sheet",  "we did a poster on our novel "," we played a game in social studies", etc. Their way of thinking is to focus on the doing - rather than what they learned.

11 Something to keep in mind: Task or Target.
The ability to distinguish between the task, the activity the students will engage in, and the learning target, what they are to learn by engaging in the activity... is crucial to creating an accurate assessment.

12 Why does this matter? There is a body of research that indicates when students are clear about their learning goal, a goal that describes the intended learning, they perform significantly better than those who are given goals that focus on task completion. Making the intended learning clear, substitutes a learning goal mindset for their activity-oriented way of thinking. It focuses the attention to learning by helping them understand that the assignment is the means to the learning.

13 Clear Targets - the teachers' role
  Know what kinds of targets are represented in curriculum –Knowledge –Reasoning –Performance Skill –Product •Master the targets ourselves •Know which targets our assessments measure •Make learning targets clear to students, too. In the next section we will look at the types of targets we see in curriculum, this is important because we want to know what type of learning the student is engaging in so we can plan appropriate activities and assessments that will match the intended learning.

14 Classifying Targets

15 Target Type Teacher's Role
convert to student friendly language if needed  Identify under-pining skills using a student friendly rubric or criteria checklist– (a performance or product may require knowledge, reasoning and skill targets also) Knowledge  and Reasoning Skills Performance Skills and Product skills

16 Making Outcomes Student Friendly
Developing “I Can” Statements I think we’re likely all in agreement that having students aware of what it is they need to do is good practice…as with most ideas – sometimes easier said than done – especially considering the state of some of our curriculums… However, that doesn’t mean we can just abandon the objectives…we need to ensure we’re making every effort to communicate and reword the objectives in student friendly language. I know many of you attended Larry Ainsworth’s session on unpacking outcomes at SELU last week - so some of you are familiar with the process he spoke of. I’m not going to focus on that process today as I it would require a great deal more time than we have…but I think we could certainly keep his work in mind and consider if that is something we want to move forward with. Today, though, I want to share with you a simple process that you already saw outlined in the case studies you read…and that was rewriting outcomes using “I Can” statements. PROVIDE HANDOUT – SEE EXAMPLES (Alberta curriculum) Some points to consider: this is just one idea that might work for getting teachers into their curricula…this is not a “mandate” and certainly should not be seen as an add-on. This is good practice, and if our kids don’t know what it is they have to do then they are not being given fair warning….!!! Every objective may not be easily worded into an “I Can” statement – but the ultimate goal of course is to keep the language accessible for kids…. You may be able to combine objectives into one “I Can” statement, or you may have to break certain objectives down into several “I Can” statements. There might not necessarily be a one to one correlation… So let’s look at a couple of examples using Saskatchewan curriclum…but before we do that…a few things to keep in mind:

17 Student Friendly Terms
“In order for the learning intention to be shared effectively, it needs to be clear and unambiguous, so that the teacher can explain it in a way that makes sense to her children.” “…the task has to match the learning intention for the children to have a chance of fulfilling it.” The learning intention “needs to be the main focus of feedback.” Shirley Clarke in Unlocking Formative Assessment

18 Remember the Sienfeld video.

19 I can complete my work on time.
Considerations… I can tie my shoes. I can complete my work on time. Keep the “I Can” statements tied to curriculum – these need to be measurable!

20 Remember This… Learning targets need to be clear to all students.
Not all learning targets are unclear and need to be converted into student friendly language. Activities should be selected/planned AFTER the learning targets are established.

21 A Mathematics Example Math Decimals Page 152 in the book
Subject Math Decimals Page 152 in the book Going on a decimal hunt Read decimals and put them in order Topic Assignment Activity Learning Target

22 Converting Learning Targets to Student-friendly Language
 Steps: 1. Identify an important or difficult learning goal. 2. Identify word(s) needing clarification. 3. Define the word(s). 4. Rewrite the definition as an “I can”   statement, in terms that your students will understand. 5. Try it out and refine as needed. 6. Have students try this process. Remember these are going to be  knowledge targets or  reasoning targets  we'll look at how to do the steps together,  then you will get to practice with a  partner. There is a copy of this in your handouts

23 IDENTIFY is not the same as ANALYZE!
Considerations… Don’t oversimplify!! IDENTIFY is not the same as ANALYZE! Keep cognition levels the same. Ensure the INTENT of the original objective is kept intact!!

24 Learner Outcome Addressed:
Grade 2 Math Foundational Objective: demonstrate a sense of spatial awareness and familiarity with two- and three-dimensional shapes and recognize relationships between geometry and the environment. Learner Outcome Addressed: design classifications and sort three-dimensional objects according to various characteristics Student “I Can” Statements: I can sort 3D objects into groups and explain why I put them into each group. OR I can sort 3D objects into groups and create names for each group. I’m assuming the students already know what 3D objects are… Here are a couple of options – but which one do you think most closely reflects the original intent of the objective?? I would say the first one –as it requires an explanation of WHY they put them into groups – not just naming the groups…. Regardless – both are more accessible to the student!!

25 Learner Outcome Addressed:
Grade 8 Arts Education Foundational Objective: Develop an understanding of the elements of art and the principles of design and learn to apply this understanding to their expressions and responses to works of art. Learner Outcome Addressed: continue to extend their understanding of the elements of art through exploration and analysis continue to apply their understanding of the elements of art when discussing, analysing, developing and reflecting on visual art works Student “I Can” Statements: I can analyze and discuss how an artist chose to manipulate line, colour, texture, shape and form for a particular purpose/effect. I consider and choose the best way to manipulate line, colour, texture, shape and form when creating visual art works. These objectives are not quite as clear!! NOTE: could easily do this activity with the students – engage them in sorting out what it is they really need to do These have remained very broad – but could become quite granular – if you wanted…i.e.) you could focus on each element discretely to start with so they get a sense of how each element contributes/impacts an artwork.

26 Learner Outcome Addressed:
Grade 4 Science Foundational Objective: Explain some aspects of cell theory. Learner Outcome Addressed: Recognize the relationships between cells, tissues, and organs. Recognize the characteristics of cells, tissues, and organs. Student “I Can” Statements: Your turn!!! You have a whole package of objectives from a variety of grade levels – feel free to go to an area that interests you. Please bear in mind the considerations we discussed prior…give this a try…

27 Activity in your grade group
Using the activity sheet “Sharing Learning Targets” as a guide, look at the outcomes (targets) for a topic you are or will be teaching this year. MECY LINK  a. Identify the type of target b. Determine whether to share as is or to convert it to student friendly language c. Determine whether a student friendly rubric or checklist is needed d. Convert it to student friendly language if deemed necessary. Look at the activity sheet together. Participants must be reminded ahead of time to bring their outcomes for a unit of study they are doing in September. Their framework document will work fine, or they can go to the MECY website to download some. High school – perhaps the department heads could be in charge of bringing the outcomes. Remember we have to know what the target is before we can assess it, provide effective feedback, develop rubrics, and teach it.  We need to keep our students' eyes on what it is they are learning. I would not suggest people leave for this – that way you can assist with it and they can learn from one another. At the high school this would be a good opportunity for department heads to work together. Allow aprox 20 minutes


29 Convert complex or unfamiliar targets to student-friendly language
Strategy 1: KEY POINTS Provide a Clear Statement of the Learning Target Convert complex or unfamiliar targets to student-friendly language Post them or have students keep them Connect learning targets to activities To debrief this part of the activity, ask “What did you discover while doing this activity? When would it be a good idea to do it?”  People often discover the following: •It is time-consuming. •Some of our learning targets are hard to define. •We each have different ideas about what the learning target means.

30 Posting clear targets and regularly connecting student activities to the targets is the foundation for all other assessment practices. Investing time in this will have one of the biggest impacts on your students’ learning The following page is a sample of one way a teacher connects the target to the learning in an ongoing way.



33 Reflections? Suggestions?
Do we want to save our work and have it added to our division assessment folder on our website (Click on the sample work done by some Alberta teachers) (Database "I can" statements)? What would you like to do in follow up to this session? How can the assessment committee assist? . (

34 Works Cited Mulgrew, Anne and Rawe, Elisa. Conversations to Enhance Learning, 2008. Stiggins, Rick. Classroom Assessment for Student Learning, Stiggins, Rick. Student Involved Classroom Assessment, 1997.

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