do I apply constructivism in my classroom?
are some simple ways to get started?
are some challenges I may face?
do I assess student progress?
does constructivism align with state and national standards?
does technology complement constructivism?
do I work with my school, the parents, and the community?
constructivism align with state and national standards?
State standards and examinations as well as the call for stringent
exit outcomes are usually structured on the test-teach-test model
of instruction, with each test requiring a highly specific response.
New standards relating to the concept of "performance-based assessment,"
however, do begin to account for the idiosyncratic nature of learning.
Integration of assessment into the learning process is one of
the guiding principles of the constructivist classroom. Many school
systems have adopted standards in which students are asked to
demonstrate their knowledge in a variety of ways, including essays,
oral presentations, and/or a portfolio of work. (Note: " Assessment,
Evaluation, and Curriculum Redesign" and "Teaching to Standards"
are two of the CONCEPT TO CLASSROOM Workshops.)
There are now published standards that honor the concepts of constructivist
theory. For example, the Center On Learning, Assessment, and School
Structure (CLASS) wrote "A Proposed Assessment System: The North
Carolina Assessment for the Next Century," which calls for "an
assessment system for measuring rigorous, real-world use of knowledge
that also would provide better, more timely feedback to students,
teachers, and parents." The proposal goes on, "Because of this
dual charge, the system of assessment is built upon 'authentic
performance,' scored locally against state standards."
CLASS gives many
examples and ideas for incorporating standards into a constructivist-modeled
activity. Here is an example of a good assignment:
a Find' -- The student is a professor of literature at a local
college. A friend is on the board of the local library, which
was just burned. All the records about the library's history
were destroyed. In the ruins, the original corner stone was
found. Inside the corner stone is a collection of literature.
The friend feels confident that this collection will be key
in determining when the original library was built. The friend
asks that the professor identify when the literature was written.
In addition, the corner stone is to be reused in the reconstructed
library. The student is asked to suggest a collection of literature
to be placed in the corner stone that best reflects the late
twentieth century in American history and letters."
This activity might meet the following standards:
-- comprehending different genres of books
-- responding to literature
-- participating in group meetings
-- doing presentations
The CLASS assessment system stresses "backwards design" -- looking
at what you want the student to know or be able to do and building
your curriculum to accomplish that. The UNDERSTANDING BY DESIGN
HANDBOOK, by Jay McTighe and Grant Wiggins, lays out three steps
to do this: 1) identify desired results, 2) determine acceptable
evidence, and 3) plan the learning experiences and instruction.
Workshop: Constructivism as a Paradigm for Teaching and Learning
Explanation | Demonstration | Exploration | Implementation | Get Credit
Concept to Classroom | About the Series | Resources | Sitemap | Credits
Thirteen | Thirteen Ed Online | thirteencelebration.org
© 2004 Educational Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.