logo

Enhancing Pedagogical Precision: Supporting Teachers to Meet and Exceed Students’ Learning Outcomes Part 1

In every sector where there are rules and regulations, a trail of paperwork will inevitably follow. A regulated industry means that there are standards; that to play a significant role within it, you must have some form of qualification, usually defined by that regulatory body. It proves that you have a deep understanding of the role and gives you credibility.

Blooms Taxonomy, according to Mahajan et al (2017) forms the basis of learning outcomes. Knowledge, understanding and the ability to analyse, reframe and demonstrate the concept are their success markers. 

As teachers, this paperwork is evidence that you are doing your job by aligning the children’s outcomes to a set framework of standards. Have you done everything you can for these children to achieve them? 

For us to understand a child’s learning progression, it is important that we first appreciate their starting point. We have to meet them where they are, not where we want them to be. Therefore, once we have identified their baseline, we can start to build upon that by identifying any gaps in their knowledge and skills. Only then, can we begin to assess their overall academic growth as it aligns with the curriculum standards. For teachers to do this practically, the appropriate tools and strategies must be implemented.

How can teachers identify opportunities for academic growth?
There are both passive and dynamic methods, each with their benefits and limitations. Teachers must gather this information with an open mind, and of being prepared to undertake this task based on their students’ individual needs.

Traditional methods of assessment include,

  • Standardized Tests
  • Observations
  • Formative/Summative assessments
  • Multiple Choice Questions
  • Parent feedback

Many of these methods, while they give instant results, do have their limitations. Assessments that require a child to sit and answer questions, whether under exam conditions or not, are being assessed on their knowledge at that point in time.  Some would argue that it is a test of memory rather than application. A study by MIT neuroscientists found “that despite the fact that some of the schools had successfully raised student test scores, students still showed no improvements in performance when tested on their fluid intelligence skills, such as working memory capacity and speed of information processing.” (Foster, 2015)

Gabrieli, professor of brain and cognitive sciences still maintains that “there is compelling evidence that testing is a valuable diagnostic tool and also an effective tool for learning information.” 

Yang, et al (2019) also agrees that it has multiple benefits and that “retrieval practice can be incorporated in all aspects of instruction.” They compare the capabilities of short and long-term memory and the act of retrieval – being able to remember things – can only occur when the information is “encoded” and “consolidated.” 

“Such processes can involve replaying the experience, assigning it meaning, reinterpreting information, or making connections.”

However, while both Yang and Gabrielli discuss the implications of testing as a means of learning for the educator since it highlights students’ knowledge (and thus supports the notion of standardized tests, for example) Yang et al suggest that it could be a flawed method. There are multiple aspects to consider, including the amount of time between the learning and the test, the level of difficulty in the learning process and individual study techniques. In summary, traditional testing requires the student to study, that is to revise or re-read over time, and that the recall ability is subjective.  

The study concludes that even though testing can have multiple benefits, it is an essential part of the learning process.The educator must also take into consideration the format and timing of the test as well as asking “the ‘right’ questions, in the right format, at the right time for the right person.” 

How else can teachers determine the academic needs of their students?

Dynamic strategies that are more progressive and longitudinal are available. They include scenario-based experiences, such as those found in the health sector, which could be akin to learning through play. KneoWorld utilizes play-based learning programs that are built on decades of research. They offer targeted assessments to guide instruction that meets the needs of individual students, while also monitoring their learning progression.

In Part 2 of this blog, these strategies will be explored in more detail.

 

References.

Foster, R. (2015) Standardized tests not a good indication of Fluid Intelligence Accordi, Open Colleges. Available at: https://www.opencolleges.edu.au/blogs/articles/standardized-tests-not-a-good-indication-of-fluid-intelligence-according-to-new-research (Accessed: 01 November 2023). 

Mahajan, M. and Singh, M.K. (2017) ‘Importance and benefits of learning outcomes’, IOSR Journal of Humanities and Social Science, 22(03), pp. 65–67. doi:10.9790/0837-2203056567. 

Yang, B.W., Razo, J. and Persky, A.M. (2019) Using testing as a learning tool, American journal of pharmaceutical education. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6920642/ (Accessed: 01 November 2023).

1 thought on “Enhancing Pedagogical Precision: Supporting Teachers to Meet and Exceed Students’ Learning Outcomes Part 1”

Comments are closed.