Examples of Adapted Standards and Targets:

Case I: Example of Poorly Adapted Standards and Targets

Fred planned to use the Containers task for his sixth grade class. To make the task more appropriate for sixth graders, Fred decided that he wanted his students to design another experiment to find out more about heat transfer and its relationship to the material of containers. Then he developed the following targets to specify what students need to be able to know, understand, and do:

Design an investigation

Complete a data table

Understand which container keeps a hot drink warm the longest

Understand why that container keeps a hot drink warm the longest

Understand which container keeps ice-cream cold

Understand why that container keeps ice-cream cold the longest

Based on these targets, Fred planned to modify the task and the rubric for the Containers task.

 

Analysis:

Fred made two errors in the process of selecting standards and targets. First, he neglected to identify the specific content standards he wished focus on in his adaptation of the Containers exercise. Fred also did not define his targets well enough to help him establish a clear task or valid and reliable rubric.

Because Fred plans to make changes to the task, he has to consider whether the new task actually addresses the same standards as the old one. The change that he wanted to make suggests that a new content standard should be added: 8ASI1.2 Design and conduct a scientific investigation. Specifying this standard and reviewing the standards that are not changing can help him focus his targets.

Fred’s targets currently do not identify the specific knowledge, reasoning, skills and products he wishes to examine with this task. For example, Fred stated that he wished to assess students' understanding of why a container keeps a hot drink warm. However, he is really more interested in determining whether students understand the concepts of heat transfer and insulation. Similarly, Fred stated that he wanted to assess students' ability to complete the data table. Yet completing the data table requires additional specific skills such as making and recording temperature measurements, gathering data, and organizing data. Well-defined targets include specific learning goals and behaviors expected from students and are defined in terms of concepts to be learned or skills to demonstrate.

Fred would have created more clearly defined targets if he classified them in terms of knowledge, reasoning, skills, and product targets. Defining targets in this way helps to distinguish between the specific types of achievements expected of his students. For example, more appropriate targets, given the standards Fred selected, might be the following:

Knowledge Targets

Understands the steps involved in planning an experiment to test which containers keep a drink hottest (based on new standard)

Understands the concepts of heat transfer and insulation

Reasoning Targets

Uses findings to construct reasonable explanations about why a container is the best insulator

Reasons about how materials influence heat transfer

Uses findings to solve new problems

Skill Targets

Makes and records measurements of temperature

Gathers data

Organizes data

Represents data in a table

Product Targets

Uses skills and reasoning to clearly answer questions in the assessment

With these targets Fred easily could select questions that address important concepts and skills. Then, when modifying the rubric, Fred would have little difficulty deciding which specific behaviors are most important to assess and how to award points for each successfully completed behavior.

 

 

Case II: Example of Well-Adapted Standards and Targets

Jennifer, a fourth grade teacher, decided that she wanted assess her students' knowledge about scientific inquiry using the Containers task. Accordingly, she added the National Science Education content standard 4ASI1.3 Simple instruments, such as magnifiers, thermometers, and rulers, provide more information than scientists obtain using only their senses. Using all of the content standards, she developed the following targets:

Knowledge Targets

Understands the concepts of heat transfer and insulation

Understands the steps to complete an experiment to test which containers keep a drink hottest

Understands how thermometer and measuring cup provide scientists with more information than the senses (based on new standard)

Reasoning Targets

Uses findings to construct reasonable explanations about why a container is the best insulator

Reasons about how materials influence heat transfer

Uses findings to solve new problems

Skill Targets

Makes and records measurements of temperature

Gathers data

Organizes data

Represents data in a table

Product Targets

Uses skills and reasoning to clearly answer questions in the assessment

Using these targets, Jennifer planned to modify the task and the rubric for the Containers task.

 

Analysis:

Jennifer selected an appropriate standard, translated the learning goals and behaviors she expected of her students into specific targets, and grouped her targets into the knowledge, reasoning, skill, and product categories. The targets are clear and well-defined so that the task and rubric can be modified more efficiently and effectively.