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Depth of Knowledge...again? Nope!

08 Jan 2018 2:46 PM | Anonymous

We all know how the tides come in and go out, just like fashion trends.  The lesson here is, “hang onto it, it’ll come back in style!”  This is also true with trends in education.  Proficiency tests (1990s) became Graduation tests (OGT), which became “End of course” tests. (a.k.a PARCC and AIR) In our District, work with Professional Learning communities seemed to have begun almost 20 years ago, and waxed and waned with various administrations and their styles of leadership…..I remember working on a “Gold star” lesson with a colleague and thinking about the Rigor and Relevance Framework. (Daggett) Levels A, B, C, and D, quadrants on a grid, does that sound familiar?

And so we begin to look at the Depth of Knowledge charts, graphic organizers, and vocabulary again. (from ODE and Karin Hess) (applying and descriptors) (why the DOK wheel does NOT address…) I feel a little bit like a college student in an education course, trying to write a lesson that uses all the right “buzz words” and strategies. Each department was asked to analyze an assessment (think midterm exams, or unit tests) according to DOK.  Results of the test were then gathered in order to see how many students “passed” or “failed” each question according to DOK level.  The first challenge was assigning a level to each of my questions.  When asking a colleague, we often differed in the level we thought the question was.  This makes me feel insecure about what I am doing!  I used a recent quiz in my Algebra 2 class, but I wasn’t surprised that more students got a lower DOK question wrong and a higher DOK question correct. (I have been at this gig for more than 30 years, you see) 

Sorry I am just getting back to this~ in the mean time, my mother passed away, I hosted two Chinese teachers for a week, we had my Mom’s memorial service, I traveled to San Antonio for a conference, and now I’m back!

Wow, two months later, we are not looking at DOK any more. Oh well.  What now?  Now we are doing SMART Goals.  Anyone else?  (Feel free to reply to this blog or email me!)  First of all, I didn’t know what SMART meant.  Here’s what I found: LINK   Another mnemonic device for me to learn.  I like the idea of it, I like all of the things that should be included, but I’m having a hard time writing one myself that someone else will think is acceptable.

Here is a sample I found online:  (https://www.csd50    

So, I teach several courses that are not tested by any state tests, and the previous course scores might not even be relevant to the students’ achievement in my course.  Algebra 2 students come from Geometry, where they took an AIRs assessment last spring.  I have the data, but should it be anything I use to make predictions for my students’ grades?  Typically, I have avoided looking back at prior data so that I wouldn’t judge students on anything but their current work.  When I have a baffling case, I look back and try to gain insight into the student or the issue.  Oh, I can write answers to each part of the mnemonic, but am I doing it “correctly”?

Here is one of my attempts:

Initial Goal : Students will be able to model real world data with sine waves. (or other functions)

Course: Honors Algebra 2/Trig

1.     Specific (What do you want to accomplish? Who needs to be included? When do you want to do this? Why is this a goal?):

  After studying the graphs and transformations of sine and cosine curves, students will learn to calculate the parameters (a, b, c, d) that cause these transformations when looking at a graph.  Honors students, grades 7, 9, 10 enrolled in Honors Algebra 2.  We will do activities around this goal during the week of February 20. (or other times) This is a goal because student interest is high when we use real data and support it with our new skills.

2.              Measureable (How can you measure progress and know if you’ve successfully met your goal?):

Students will have taken formative assessments on the Parent graphs of sine and cosine, and will participate in group learning as well as team activities with data.  A final “project” will show student mastery of the concept when they complete their chosen project. (Ferris wheel, roller coaster, or temperatures)

3.              Achievable (Do you have the skills required to achieve the goal? If not, can you obtain them? What is the motivation for this goal? Is the amount of effort required on par with what the goal will achieve?):

All students will have the skills needed to achieve this goal through diligent practice in and out of class on graphing transformations of the Parent functions.  The motivation for the goal is to relate “textbook” math to the real world.

4.              Relevant (Why am I setting this goal now? Is it aligned with overall objectives?):

This goal is related to future science courses where modeling data is important for making predictions and learning concepts.  It is also aligned with student understanding of all transformations of functions, an emphasis in Algebra 2 and Precalculus courses.

5.              Time-bound (What’s the deadline and is it realistic?):

We have spent several days already graphing the Parent graphs and various transformations, and will spend several more days working with data.  Video tutorials are available to students as needed.  (this study has continued throughout the year)

S.M.A.R.T. Goal (Review what you have written, and craft a new goal statement based on the answers to the questions above have revealed): No thanks.  I’m good.   Revised 3-7-18

What do you think?  (insert emoji with gritted teeth)  Feel free to critique, I am open to input!

OCTM is an affiliate of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

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