From Point A to Point B: Using Assessments to Chart the Path of Integrated Instruction

From Point A to Point B: Using Assessments to Chart the Path of Integrated Instruction

Kristin T. Rearden (University of Tennessee, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-6364-8.ch004

Abstract

Designing lessons based on knowledge of students, curricula, assessments, and instructional strategies is critical for effective instruction. Diagnostic assessments can inform teachers about what students know and what they think they know, while formative assessments provide pertaining to progress that students are making during and immediately after a lesson that is acted upon. This data can be derived from both teacher-based sources and students' self-assessments. Strategies for assessing integrated science and literacy lessons can target practices common to both subjects. With an accurate roadmap of where students are starting and where they should be by the end of a lesson, both teachers and students will be equipped for the learning journey.
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Four Questions: Beginning The Journey With The Destination In Mind

Salient among the initial considerations for lesson design is the anticipated endpoint for students, reflecting a “backwards design” model (Wiggins & McTighe, 2005). Specifying what students should be able to know and/or do as a result of instruction provides a clear endpoint for both teachers and students. In addition to specifying the endpoint, consideration of other components is required for effective lesson design: the students; content and practices; and instructional strategies. Although these factors may initially be addressed as independent entities, the art of lesson planning lies in designing instruction based on their nexus. In sharp contrast to merely relying on the sequential lessons presented in a textbook, a purposefully designed lesson plan requires a holistic consideration of these factors. Gilrane and Rearden (2015) elaborate on these aspects by identifying essential questions and sub-questions to further consider when designing lessons. The four essential questions and corresponding probes are shown in Table 1.

Table 1.
Four essential questions for teachers to ask during planning
Essential QuestionsProbing Further
Who are my students? • What do they know?
• What do they care about?
• What can they do?
• What kind of help do they need?
What do I want them to learn? • What really big ideas are worth learning?
• What do I want them to learn – including, but not limited to, standards and academic language?
What will count as a good job (assessment)?• What are the authentic applications?
• What is the ongoing feedback/coaching?
• What real-life scenarios requiring synthesis and critical thinking should be included?
How will I get there? • What materials will I need?
• What is the space in which this will be taught?
• How much time is allotted?
• What routines are established or need to be established?
• What are the activities?
• What roles will I have as a teacher?

Key Terms in this Chapter

Self-Assessment: Process of analyzing one’s own progress based on established criteria.

Integrated Instruction: Addressing objectives from two or more content disciplines during a lesson.

Formative Assessment: Tool for determining students’ knowledge and understanding of the lesson objective during the lesson for the purpose of adjusting instruction as needed.

Informational Text: Genre for non-fiction text-based content.

Summative Assessment: Tool for determining students’ knowledge and understanding of the objectives from one more lessons after completion.

Diagnostic Assessment: Tool for determining students’ knowledge and understanding of the lesson objective before the lesson is taught.

Academic Language: Vocabulary, syntax, and discourse patterns associated with a discipline.

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