Measuring impact of Deep Learning Pedagogies

Measuring the impact of Deep Learning Pedagogies

Growing up in Brazil, 50% was a passing grade. It was weird because all everyone really wanted was to pass. What happened between 50% and 100% might have influenced my friend’s allowances or weekend privileges, but it was by no means a reliable scale measuring the learning.

By that logic, most grading systems also fail. What can an “A” student do that a “B-” student cannot? Does it all come down to how much each student knows?

The IB Grade Descriptors try to minimize this issue by linking assessments to a variety of subject-specific skills and creating a grading scale that translates into a natural progression on the ability to perform these skills. Like the ones for Individuals and Societies below.

“Grade” here is used to describe the achievement of the student at the end of a marking period, and not the ‘grade level’ of the student. 7 = A

At the end of a marking period., the student is able to correlate achievement with abilities. Perfect for goal-setting. 5 = B

The complexity of the 6C’s and the Approaches to Learning would add a serious layer of confusion to grading. The IB ATLs are comprised of 140 distinct skills. As a result, ‘grading’ ATLs is highly discouraged.

Measuring progression qualitatively in reference to observed behaviors provides insightful anecdotes of who the student is as a learner.

The Managebac people suggest yet another approach, which I found interesting. It involves determining, first, what constitutes progress in these types of skills. I don’t think their first suggestion is particularly strong (how ‘often’ a behavior happens: something like ‘never/seldom/often/always brings calculator to class’). The other suggestions are much more insightful: how independent the behavior is; the general complexity of the task in which the behavior is seen; and the specific complexity of the task in which the behavior is seen. As an example, think about which of these you’d like to read on your child’s report card:

What effective new pedagogies are worth trying?

I have a soft spot for Design Thinking. This week, during the IB Virtual Conference, I got a chance to hear Kiran Bir Sethii talk about Design for Change and the school she founded in India with the intent of ‘not being the best school in the world, but the best school for the world”.

DT brings an iterative, feedforward mindset to the classroom and organizations. Showing unfinished work is essential. Radical collaboration and fast, solution-oriented testing are also central pieces. Do you have an idea for a presentation or an essay? Give someone the 30-second elevator pitch before you even open PowerPoint; then let the feedback take you to the next steps.

One of my considerations for my Final Project is to have students collaborate to produce some sort of digital publication that may have an authentic audience. Visual literacy is new-ish to me, and I haven’t yet tried it out in a larger assessment.

Becoming …(1)… learners …(2).

(1) independent, autonomous
(2) able to effectively design, pursue and achieve their own learning goals and personal aspirations as well as master curricular learning goals

Is there a way of becoming a learner that doesn’t involve the content of inserts (1) and (2)? If you are just sitting in a classroom, disenfranchised, learning about something you don’t care about, is it still learning?”

How do we teach so that students can become this uber-learner we aspire all of them to become?

The IB Approaches to Teaching and Learning suggests that every skill can be taught by following a series of 7 steps.

The Approaches to Teaching also give teachers a series of approaches grounded on Deep Learning Pedagogies. When using these, teachers create an environment where student skills can flourish and develop alongside curriculum content.

At an interview for a Science position, I was asked about the differences between teaching middle school and high school. I replied, first, that my middle school classes see more of my dad jokes. Secondly, that middle schools are much more impressionable, but they are also harder to impress, if that makes sense.

In my experience, High School kids tend to respect teachers as subject authorities first, and then seek to develop that mentor-mentee relationship that deepens the learning. Middle school students seek an affective connection more immediately, and that connection needs to be nurtured frequently. Is it safe to say middle school students are more high maintenance?

A colleague I nudged back in the day tried out Classcraft, a gamification platform for your class. Students don’t have a lesson, they go on quests. They don’t pass assessments, they level up. If I were to teach Middle School, that’s the first thing I’d try as a way of building that affective bridge.

Effect size and deep learning pedagogies

Speaking of the difference between affective and effective.

I came across this article that outlines Hattie’s new ranking of 252 influences and their respective effect sizes in relation to student achivement.

Hattie Ranking: 252 Influences And Effect Sizes Related To Student Achievement

A platform like Classcraft ticks a lot of the boxes over 0.4 (the point at which strategies have a statistically-significant effect on achivement): micro-teaching (0.88), cognitive task analysis (1.29), problem-solving teaching (0.68) and so on.

Side note

I noticed Collective Teacher Efficacy at the top of Hattie’s list (1.57) and did some digging. Donohoo (2017) suggests 6 enabling conditions, one of which is teachers’ knowledge of each other’s work.

At Nanjing International School, I helped adapt a protocol based on Campbell’s Hero’s Journey to capture what some teachers were doing. We shared those at assemblies, faculty meetings and in visible platforms around campus.

Visual design by @terSonya


2 thoughts on “Measuring impact of Deep Learning Pedagogies

  1. Hi Luiz!

    I don’t currently use it but I think that Classcraft is an awesome tool, particularly for middle school students. I spoke to my school’s tech director about it after attending a training but he was hesitant to buy licenses as he had strong feelings about gamification. I know that there is a free version but I am curious how your friend found it? Did he find it a useful tool for reeling some of those “high maintenance” middle schoolers in?

    Using masking tool to annotate lab work *chef kiss.* I never thought of that and it’s genius! I can’t count the number of times I’ve used post-its that have poor adhesive and get lost.

    I really like what you said about encouraging students to give a 30-second elevator pitch for ideas they have before starting a PowerPoint presentation. It sounds like you’re really preparing your students for the real world.

    Awesome post!

    • If I remember right, my colleague didn’t think it was worth it in the end. Something about how his kids played it, or were unable to ‘suspend disbelief’ as they played it. I think I remember him saying something about the kids that would be able to ‘heal’ others didn’t, and I think that disenchanted him. Not all experiences are the same, and I would definitely give it a go over the course of a short unit (prototype it!) if you think it addresses some of the instructional challenges you’re facing (what other ideas are out there for the same challenges?).

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