03 SES 10 A, Aligning Curriculum with Assessment
This paper is a case study exploring the use of the learning strategy Mysteries ( Leat, 1998) in social studies classes in a Norwegian lower secondary school which aimed to develop metacognitive learning strategies through feedback. The classes used iPads, Digital Mysteries. There is an increasing awareness about learning strategies and metacognition in Norwegian schools (NOU, 2014:7) occurring parallel to the increased use of iPads. Over a few years, a large number of municipalities in Norway have introduced a one-iPad-per-student policy (1:1 iPad), and there is considerable interest in their effective use.
Digital Mysteries (Kharrufa, Leat, & Olivier, 2010) are based on principles in computer-supported collaborative learning (CSCL). The aim is to strengthen the quality of the cooperation between student and teacher, giving the teacher the tools needed to provide feedback at strategic moments in the learning process (Kharrufa et al., 2010).
Feedback is a central concern in many educational systems because of the expectation that it can improvement student performance (see Hattie 1999). However in many contexts feedback has become strongly equated with teacher written marking. For example in England the Education Endowment Fund (2018) position feedback thus:
Effective feedback tends to: be specific, accurate and clear (e.g. “It was good because you...” rather than just “correct”); compare what a learner is doing right now with what they have done wrong before (e.g. “I can see you were focused on improving X as it is much better than last time’s Y…”);
The focus is on correcting and improving what has been wrong or weak before. It is a staccato process, marked by key staging posts when work is completed, marked or assessed and returned with some evaluation. In this paper we contribute to thinking about assessment and achievement of curriculum aims by focusing on how feedback can be used as a much more dynamic, integrated and holistic process in the classroom.
The paper is in two main parts. The first is a qualitative review of research on the Mystery method and their potential use in formative assessment and curriculum development. The second part is a case study which addresses the question of the potential for mysteries to significantly develop teachers understanding of the feedback process.
The review of the Mystery method shows that both digital and paper-based tasks have the potential for dialogue-based learning but create significant demands on the teacher's pedagogical content knowledge. Both the development of digital mysteries (Higgins, Mercier, Burd, & Joyce-Gibbons, 2012; Kharrufa et al., 2010) and the development of Mystery Maps ( J. C. Benninghaus, Mühling, Kremer, & Sprenger, 2019; Karkdijk, van der Schee, & Admiraal, 2018) can provide the teacher with a tool to enhance feedback in the debriefing situation. There have been a number of studies that have documented the effect of the mystery method and feedback (Applis, 2014; Bijsterbosch, van der Schee, & Kuiper, 2017; Karkdijk, van der Schee, & Admiraal, 2013; Leat & Higgins, 2002; Leat & Nichols, 2000; Leat, Van der Schee, & Vankan, 2005; Schee, Leat, & Vankan, 2006). But until now there have been no systematic structural analysis techniques for the Mystery method in the extant literature. The system thinking as shown by J. Benninghaus et al. (2019b) has analytical potential. Mystery maps and algorithms are a tool to enhance the teacher's opportunity for diagnostic analysis and feedback. This enhances teacher's pedagogical content knowledge and enables teacher teams to transfer theories and perspectives to provide depth to student's understanding of context and cause-effect.
Following the brief qualitative review of the use of mysteries, the second part of the paper employs a case study design (Yin, 2014), using video observation as method of data collection helping to capture processes among the students and the debriefing situation (feedback). Yin (2014, p. 16) describes case studies as a research strategy that enables in-depth understanding of real life phenomena. The research questions in this paper are "how" and "why" questions and the cases focus on real-time occurrences in the classroom. The Mystery assignments were made for both paper and digital use and deal with World War II (WWII), which is a part of the social studies curriculum for the 9th grade. In Norway, the national curriculum requires … (can you put something about skill development/thinking that is in the NC? Not much detail needed) The task Task one concerns a Jewish family, the “Hecht family”, in Germany in the 30s and 40s. Task two concerned the resistance movement during the German occupation of Norway focused on a young man named “Karsten”. Both assignments were discussed with the teacher team. The school was chosen at random, the only criterion being that it was an iPad school. The video observations were approved by NSD (Norwegian data authorities) and all data was anonymized. The student's parents approved that the data was used in research. The research was conducted in two classes in Grade 9, age 14, each with 8 groups of 4 students. The lessons were directed by the class teacher who was instructed in the Mystery method and had also performed the same mysteries with another class. One fixed video camera with a desk microphone was used in each group. When the students were working on the Digital Mysteries, the working processes were saved on the iPad.
Overall, the TT-strategy mystery worked effectively in both formats, the same result as Higgins, Mercier, Burd, and Joyce-Gibbons (2012). The teachers organised the tasks well and the all student groups engaged with the task structure. 1. The task was successful in connecting with students' prior knowledge relevant to the subject matter and the group talk and data manipulation provided many opportunities for spontaneous feedback through talk. However the teachers needed to continually review their options to make pedagogical choices to challenge students' thinking and some opportunities were missed . 2. There is a tendency for teachers to focus on written product, as this is their standard metric for assessment. The metacognitive plenary was rushed and the teachers did not have time to go over the digital reports available via the iPads, which allows them to debrief the students in a very different way. The students were not challenged to elaborate their answers or shed light on their thought-processes and the debriefing was mainly a summary of their solutions. 3. The teachers were relatively unaware of the processes and conclusions of individual groups and missed opportunities to showcase good thinking or to promote argument. 4. We will argue on the basis of this case study and wider literature that there needs to be a rebalancing in curriculum, pedagogy and assessment, giving greater emphasis to synchronous, 'on-the-fly', classroom feedback, which can influence thinking while it is still developing and 'plastic'.
Applis, S. (2014). Global Learning in a Geography Course Using the Mystery Method as an Approach to Complex Issues. Review of International Geographical Education Online, 4(1), . Benninghaus, J., Mühling, A., Kremer, K., & Sprenger, S. (2019). The Mystery Method Reconsidered—A Tool for Assessing Systems Thinking in Education for Sustainable Development. Education Sciences, 9(4). Bijsterbosch, E., van der Schee, J., & Kuiper, W. (2017). Meaningful learning and summative assessment in geography education: an analysis in secondary education in the Netherlands. International Research in Geographical and Environmental Education, 26(1), 17-35. Hattie, J. (2009) Visible Learning, Abingdon, Oxford: Routledge. Higgins, S., Mercier, E., Burd, L., & Joyce-Gibbons, A. (2012). Multi-touch tables and collaborative learning. British Journal of Educational Technology, 43(6), 1041-1054. Karkdijk, J., van der Schee, J., & Admiraal, W. (2013). Effects of teaching with mysteries on students’ geographical thinking skills. International Research in Geographical and Environmental Education, 22(3), 183-190. Karkdijk, J., van der Schee, J. A., & Admiraal, W. F. (2018). Students' geographical relational thinking when solving mysteries. International Research in Geographical and Environmental Education, 1-17. Kharrufa, A., Leat, D., & Olivier, P. (2010). Digital Mysteries: Designing for learning at the Tabletop. Retrieved from Saabrücken, Germany: Kharrufa, A., Leat, D., & Olivier, P. (2013). Designing for reflection: A Case Study with Digital Tabletops and Digital Mysteries. In H. H. Yang & W. Shuyan (Eds.), Cases on E-Learninhg Managment: Development and Implementation. Leat, D. (1998). Thinking Through Geography. Cambrigde: Chris Kington Publisher. Leat, D., & Higgins, S. (2002). The role of powerful pedagogical strategies in curriculum development. The Curriculum Journal, 13 No. 1, 71-85. Leat, D., & Nichols, A. (2000). Brains on the Table: Diagnostic and formative asessment through observation. Assessment in Education: Principles, Policy & Practice. Leat, D., Van der Schee, J., & Vankan, L. (2005). New strategies for learning geography: a tool for teachers' professional development in England and The Netherlands. European Journal of Teacher Education, 28(3), 327-342. NOU. (2014:7). NOU 2014:7 Elevenes læring i fremtidens skole. Et kunnskapsgrunnlag (Ludvigsenutvalget). Oslo: Norges offentlige utredninger Schee, J. v. d., Leat, D., & Vankan, L. (2006). Effects of the Use of Thinking Through Geography Strategies. International Research in Geographical and Environmental Education, 15(2), 124-133. Yin, R. K. (2014). Case Study Research. Design and Methods. Fourth Edition. (5 ed.). California, New Delhi, Singapore, London: Sage
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