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Educational Objectives: To be or not to be?

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Angela Kelly

on 26 September 2013

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Transcript of Educational Objectives: To be or not to be?

Educational Objectives: The Great Debate
How should we use Educational Objectives ?
The readings we will present provide two vastly different points of view about the nature and role of educational objectives in classrooms.
Educational Objectives According to Popham:
"A key feature of any rational planning , educational, or otherwise, is the possession of some idea of what is to be accomplished." (p. 95)

Popham identified seven guidelines outlining how teachers can most effectively utilize educational objectives

Through these guidelines, Popham advocated for:

clearly written objectives that describe the learner's change in behaviour (behavioural objectives) post-instruction ie, what the learner is able to do after the lesson
the acceptability of some "unassessable" objectives in teacher planning (ie. art appreciation)
identifying the the "criteria of adequacy" to establish exactly what is expected of the student for assessment purposes (ie. the standard for judgement)
the use of measurable objectives which can be applied to assess "content generality" as opposed to "test item equivalence"
the use of student "minimal proficiency levels" prior to instruction to determine how well the student needs to "perform the behaviour" described in the objective
the use of taxonomies in determining, formulating, and describing objectives
the selection of measurable objectives from already existing collections
Eisner's Take: Are Objectives Helpful?
"If educational objectives were really useful tools, teachers, I submit, would use them. If they do not, perhaps it is not because there is something wrong with the teachers but because there might be something wrong with the theory."
(p. 111)

Eisner attested four main arguments regarding the limitations of educational objectives:
the learning that occurs in classrooms is often too diverse to be anticipated and restricted in advance through pre-written objectives
Many content areas, such as the arts (and others), by their nature present opportunities for learning not always clearly identifiable due the uniqueness and creativity of the process
many of the ways knowledge is demonstrated by students requires a judgment that is qualitative in nature and therefore cannot be measured by a quantitative standard
there is value in developing objectives out of open-ended activities rich with learning opportunities instead of selecting activities which match predetermined objectives
W. James Popham
Born July 31st, 1930
Bachelor's degree in Philosophy at the University of Portland in 1953
Master's degree in Education 1954
doctoral degree in 1958 from Indiana University
won the UCLA Distinguished Teaching award 1968
active in curriculum development and educational evaluation throughout his career
based much of his work on Skinner's behaviourist theories developing behavioral objectives
Founded IOX Assessment Associates in 1968 which has created standardized tests for over 12 states http://www.ioxassessment.com/mission.php
published the first edition of Classroom Assessment: What Teachers Need to Know in 1995 (6th ed. published 2010)

sources: http://www.answers.com/topic/william-james-popham
http://insidetheacademy.asu.edu/w-james-jim-popham
Source: http://infed.org/mobi/elliot-w-eisner-connoisseurship-criticism-and-the-art-of-education/
An Introduction to our theorists...
Why did Popham feel this way?

without such objectives teachers would not know what they want the children to learn, making lesson planning difficult
the absence of objectives makes it impossible to gage the effectiveness of educational programming
clearly written objectives eliminate ambiguity in instructional content and outcome assessment

Why did Eisner feel this way?

curriculum development and evaluation are "artful" in nature and open to an "infinite number of combinations"
the teacher and the student can be seen as part of the artistic process co-creating the educational experience in a cyclical way
Now let's have
a debate!

What are objectives?
Before we begin we want to have a brief discussion about what "objectives" mean to you as teachers.
Please take a minute right now at your tables and have brief discussion about educational objectives.
In your group come up with a brief definition of the term "objectives" in education.

What are Common Core Standards?
Read the two brief articles about the use of objectives in the classroom.
In your table groups see if you can identify Popham's and Eisner's ideologies about objectives in each of the articles.
We will discuss this as a whole group afterwards.

What is your reaction to the common core standards?
Do you agree or disagree with them?
What are the pros/cons of using common core standards?
What do you think our theorists would say about common core standards?
Is this an initiative we should consider adopting in Canada? Why or why not?
Here is a brief overview of Popham's and Eisner's viewpoints as a reference:
Popham

clearly written objectives that describe the learner's change in behaviour (behavioural objectives) post-instruction ie, what the learner is able to do after the lesson
the acceptability of some "unassessable" objectives in teacher planning (ie. art appreciation)
identifying the the "criteria of adequacy" to establish exactly what is expected of the student for assessment purposes (ie. the standard for judgement)
the use of measurable objectives which can be applied to assess "content generality" as opposed to "test item equivalence"
the use of student "minimal proficiency levels" prior to instruction to determine how well the student needs to "perform the behaviour" described in the objective
the use of taxonomies in determining, formulating, and describing objectives
the selection of measurable objectives from already existing collections
Eisner

the learning that occurs in classrooms is often too diverse to be anticipated and restricted in advance through pre-written objectives
certain subject areas, such as the arts, by their nature present opportunities for learning not always clearly identifiable due the uniqueness and creativity of the process
many of the ways knowledge is demonstrated by students requires a judgment that is qualitative in nature and therefore cannot be measured by a quantitative standard
there is value in developing objectives out of open-ended activities rich with learning opportunities instead of selecting activities which match predetermined objectives

Half of the class with be Popham advocates and the other half will be Eisner fans!
Take a moment in your groups to review your theorist's viewpoints.
What do you think?
45 of the United States have recently adopted a shared set of objectives for math and language arts called the "Common Core Standards".
http://www.corestandards.org/
Are the objectives in the curriculum's you are using more aligned with Popham's or Eisner's point of view?
Elliot W. Eisner
Born in Chicago in 1933
Demonstrated a keen interest and ability in the arts in elementary school
graduated in 1954 with a BA in Arts and Education from Roosevelt University
Masters in Education at the University of Chicago in 1958
PhD in Education 1962
taught art throughout his career
concerned with enriching multiple "literacies" in children
theorized that knowledge is acquired in a multisensory way
published many writings which contribute to art education, curriculum and evaluation
shared Dewey's thoughts on the importance of experience in knowledge acquisition
Science 2 Outcomes

Life Science: Animal Growth and Changes (AN)

AN2.2 Compare the growth and development of humans with that of familiar animals. [CP, SI]
AN2.3 Assess the interdependence of humans and animals in natural and constructed environments. [CP, DM]

Physical Science: Liquids and Solids (LS)

LS2.1 Investigate properties (e.g., colour, taste, smell, shape, and texture) of familiar liquids and solids. [SI]

source: http://www.curriculum.gov.sk.ca/index.jsp?view=outcomes&lang=en&subj=science&level=2
The other side of the debate
Full transcript