Looking at Students' Conceptual Development in the Understanding Ideal
Throughout the Understanding module you will have been paying attention to students’ thinking and noticing changes in that thinking. Through the routines, students will be developing their skills in learning for understanding. At the same time, students are developing a richer and richer conception of understanding and what is involved. Each of the following closing activities provides an opportunity to learn what students have gotten out of the module and how their thinking has changed.
Activities: Closing and Reviewing
While the issue of understanding is always going to be present in classrooms, you may want to conclude the Understanding module with the opportunity for students to reflect on the topic and what they have learned. Some strategies for doing this include:
Students write a letter of advice to a younger child explaining what understanding is, why it is important, and how one goes about developing understanding. The letter should offer practical advice that the reader can use and carry with them into future situations.
- Students write about something they really wanted to understand and how they went about it. They might contrast their process with what they might do now in the same situation.
Assessing Conceptual Change
Looking at students’ pre and post-concept maps can be very useful in assessing student growth and change. As you look at students’ maps, you may find it helpful to look for the following:
Here are examples of students’ concept maps that might be useful in thinking about conceptual development. View the powerpoint presentation for more information about assessing students' understanding maps.
Understanding Maps (Powerpoint