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Action Research Case

An exploratory case study of the use of assessment-centered instruction to teach Biology.
by

April King

on 11 November 2010

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Transcript of Action Research Case

Double click anywhere & add an idea Introduction Class of 2004 My Class and Teaching Style 2nd year at NC A&T Middle College Married for 1 year I teach Biology
and Physical Science 28 years old Graduate of
NC State University 6th year teaching About Me April King 99% African American NC A&T Middle College All male high school On the campus of
NC A&T State University Students take college courses Unique learning environment small class sizes increased freedom and independence Hands on learning I try to implement as much hands on activity as possible. I use my small class size to my advantage. Students work together in small groups. Teaching science lends itself to engaging activities such as laboratory investigations and experiments. Classroom talk I like to tell stories and often get side tracked. :)
I encourage student curiosity and love to answer questions. Biology Class The class chosen for this study is a group of 10 students.
These students are mostly 10th graders.

This class meets first block from 9:45-11:15am. Inquiry I try to incorperate science inquiry into my lessons as often as possible. I think that scientific inquiry causes students to really learn difficult concepts. It is important for my students to "own" their learning. Inquiry helps this happen. Biology is my favorite :) Interventions Intervention 1 Intervention4 Diagnostic Assessment Formative Assessment Journal Writing Summative Assessment Various Question Types Learning Progressions Assessment Based Teaching Learning Map Concept Inventory
and Class Discussion This allows the teacher to identify student preconceptions
on a particular topic. Interview About Events/Images Predict-Observe-Explain Diagnostic assessments identify student preconceptions of a topic.
This helps guide the lesson.
This also allows students to reflect on their learning. Summative assessment provides an overview of student learning.
This allows the teacher to assess understanding gained during the lesson.
Students can see their own progress as well.
Summative assessment scores should indicate what the teacher already knows from formative assessments. Intervention 2 Test Grids Two tier multiple choice
Constructed response
Performance based Assessment based teaching utilizes pre-assessments and post assessments as well as frequent assessment throughout the lesson.
The teacher creates assessments first and then teaches the lesson.
"Backwards" teaching allows the teacher to plan the lesson in full before implementing in the classroom.
Student knowledge drives the lesson. Data Conclusions Intervention 3 Concept Mapping CMAPS allow students to make connections between topics.
CMAPS indentify terms and use connecting phrases and hierarchy to distinguish relationships. Intervention 3 The POE inteview is used to allow students to predict/hypothesize the outcome of a certain event.
Students observe the event that takes place.
Students analyze the event and explain what happened as they revisit their original prediction. Students are asked probing qustions about an image or event.
Student responses allow the teacher to better understand their preconceptions of the image or event.
The teacher can then alter the lesson based on student knowledge. Students created concept maps using terms from the lesson on sexual reproduction

Students interconnected the terms using phrases that identified their relatedness. Most students had trouble getting started with their maps.
Many struggled with the connecting phrases as well.
Hierarchy was somewhat present but was also a struggle for students. Students took a Unit Test on biochemical reactions.

The test consisted of 5 2-tier multiple choice questions, 3 constructed response, and 2 performance based questions. Intervention 2 Student Scores I was pleasently surprised at how well my students did on the summative assessment.
The opportunity to explain their multiple choice answer really made them think.
The test was short but thought provoking. Student scores were pretty low on the summative assessment portion of intervention 4.
There was a lot of infomation covered in this lesson on genetics.
I followed up this assessment with review because they clearly missed some concepts. Student Scores Intervention 4 This lesson was filled with all three types of assessment.

The lesson began with diagnostic assessment to identify preconceptions.

Frequent questioning, responsive journaling, and creating a CMAP were types of formative assessment used in the lesson.

The lesson ended with a summative assessment in the form of a unit test consisting of 2-tier multiple choice questions, constructed response, and performance questions. Responsive Journaling CMAPS Students were asked to identify the difference
between codominance and incomplete dominance.

They then explained how the heterozygous offspring
in these types of dominance would differ from traditional
Mendelian heterozygous offspring. Students created concept maps using terms
from the unit on genetics and inheritance.

They connected the terms by using phrases that
explained their relatedness.

Students used hierarchy to differentiate between more general and more specific terms. The lesson was introduced by
focusing on student preconceptions
through diagnostic assessment.

Students began by being asked a series of questions
about an image of various karyotypes. The questions included:

What do you see here?
What can you tell about this organism by looking at these images?
How are these two images different? How are they the same?
What do you think might happen to someone that has this difference in their chromosomes?
How do you think a difference like this might occur?
What biological/cellular processes might be involved in causing this difference? What this Means
for Me as a Science
Teacher The Teaching-Learning Connection During this process I learned to be more open to new ways of assessing my students.

I found that by using diagnostic assessment to identify preconceptions and prior knowledge, I can reduce the amount of time I spend on topics that students already understand.

My students told me that they preferred concept mapping to traditional quizzes because they could be creative and they were not as stressful.

I also learned that by planning the lesson around the assessment, I gave myself a definite plan to follow and was sure to cover all necessary topics. As a science teacher, I will use the knowledge gained during this semester to better educate my students.

By assessing throughout the lesson, it allows me to keep tabs on student learning and re-address any concepts that are not fully understood.

I will continue to use diagnostic assessments to identify preconceptions. This really helped me gather information about students' prior knowledge and suitably alter the direction of my lesson.

The use of scientific inquiry helped students to grasp concepts that were otherwise difficult to understand.

Incorperating frequent formative assessment throughout the lesson allowed me to focus on science concepts that weren't fully understood while moving on from topics that students "got". Teachers can use this information to better educate their students.

By using frequent assessment, teachers ensure that students are grasping the ideas that are being presented.

By assessing students' prior knowledge at the beginning of a lesson, a teacher can better understand the concepts that students come to class with, as well as redirect the lesson to better fit the learning needs of the students.

Using a variety of questions on the summative assessment allows teachers to ensure that students have genuinely learned the topics rather than just guessing from multiple choice answers. Interview About an Image There are two types of learning progressions
Type 1 learning progressions are standards based. The teacher develops a learning map based on the correct ideas identified by the curriculum.
Type 2 learning progressions begin with student ideas and preconceptions of a science concept and end the lesson with an explanation of that concept.
Intervention 4 utilized a type 2 learning progression which helps identify student misconceptions and follow them up with correct explanations. Intervention 1 Students performed
an inquiry lab in which they
predicted the outcome of placing
potato cubes into several different
solutions of salt water.

Students then were introduced to the topics
of cellular transport, osmosis, and diffusion. Formative assessment is used frequently to assess learning throughout the lesson.
Using formative assessment allows the teacher to identify student confusion and misunderstandings as the lesson progresses.
Formative assessment gives the teacher an idea of what results to expect on the summative assessment. Case Study Assessment is a really hot topic in education right now. I would definitely consider using frequent assessment and learning progressions as the topic for further research. I would like to do some research on the effects of standardized test scores of students who were taught using frequent and various forms of assessment vs those who were assessed in a more traditional way with quizzes and chapter tests. Issues/Problems Intervention 4 posed a challenge as I seemed to cram too much information into one lesson. The topics being covered included genetics and inheritance but with those topics come many subtopics. As shown in the previously shown learning map, there were a ton of concepts that connected together. If I had this one to do again, I would have broken the lesson down into smaller parts. I think that it was overwhelming for my students to cover so much information in such a short amount of time and it showed on the summative assessment. Issues/Problems I thought that intervention 1 went very
smoothly. The students really grasped the
topic of cellular transport. Many of them came
into the lesson with interesting misconceptions
about cellular transport. The video below shows this
as we discussed the possible outcome from placing a baggie filled
with starch into an iodine solution. This was not originally planned
as a diagnostic assessment but it presented itself during the lesson.
This activity turned out to be a good diagnostic opportunity and gave
some insight to the ideas that students had already generated about
cellular transport. Intervention 2 was a struggle because making the test grids was difficult for me. It was time consuming and frustrating. However, I really liked the format of the test that came out of it. At first, my students bucked against this new test format. They wanted to give up quickly on the open ended questions. I had to help guide many of them initially, but once they figured out that the questions were really just asking them to tell what they already knew, they relaxed and peformed very well. Issues/Problems Formative assessment was something that my students were familiar with already, but in different forms. The concept maps really made them think about the terms they had been learning. Many of them couldn't start on their own and refused to try in fear of being wrong. I began the cmap on the board to give everyone an idea how to start. This allowed some to branch off into their own ideas, while others still had a difficult time connecting the phrases, even though they knew what the terms meant. Afterwards, I asked my students how they liked the cmap process. You can see what they said on the video clip below. Issues/Problems Some of the discussion that took
place surrounding the karyotype images
is shown in the following video. Summative Assessment Unit Test What I Learned Utilizing scientific inquiry throughout the lesson allows students to take ownership of their learning.

Incorporating scientific concepts and techniques into various forms of assessment allows students to display their knowledge and give teachers the opportunity to go back and cover concepts that aren't fully understood.

By designing the lesson around the assessment, rather than the other way around,the teacher is sure to cover all necessary concepts.

Creating a learning map at the beginning of the lesson allows the teacher to outline the topics to be covered and show how they will connect to future and previously covered topics in the curriculum. Understanding Core Concepts Implications for the
Science Teaching Community The End
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