cognitive strategies?

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From Unidimensional to Multidimensional
Cognitive Indicators of College and Career
Readiness: Where Are We in the Journey?
David T Conley, PhD
University of Oregon
Educational Policy Improvement Center
Copyright CCR Consulting Group © 2010. All rights reserved.
Why Do We Need a New Conception of
College and Career Readiness?
• Historical model is aptitude based
– College readiness was conceived of as unidimensional, consisting of an
unspecified amalgam of content knowledge and “critical thinking.”
– Goal was determining general eligibility more than readiness.
– Ignored was the inherent complexity of content knowledge and cognitive
strategies and skills.
– Also overlooked entirely were a host of other factors because they could not
be conveniently measured with existing technologies.
• Net result is a model of readiness that is overly narrow and not
particularly actionable
– It is difficult to know what to do to be college ready beyond “take challenging
classes.”
– HS grades are wildly inflated; admissions tests are supposedly immune to
test-prep.
– Tremendous bias exists in favor of individuals and schools with access to the
“privileged knowledge” of what it really takes to be college ready.
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2
The Equivocal Role of Prior
Content Knowledge
• High school preparation focuses primarily on content
knowledge acquisition.
• Many entry-level college courses assume little or no prior
knowledge in the subject area.
• Even students with well-developed content knowledge
bases struggle in entry-level college courses.
• College courses begin to expect students to apply content
knowledge in non-routine ways.
• Many college courses require skills that are not tested on
traditional placement tests or well developed in high school.
• College students can effectively avoid whole content areas
throughout college.
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3
What Do We Need from a More
Comprehensive Model of College and
Career Readiness?
•
•
•
•
•
•
Must be multidimensional.
Must be actionable.
Must be transparent.
Must be valid.
Must be more class and race neutral.
Must result in (many) more students being well
prepared for postsecondary opportunities.
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4
The Four Dimensions of College Readiness
Key Cognitive Strategies
• Problem formulation, research,
• interpretation, communication,
precision and accuracy.
Key Content Knowledge
• Key foundational content and
“big ideas” from core subjects.
Academic Behaviors
• Self-management skills:
time management, study skills,
goal setting, self-awareness,
and persistence.
College Knowledge
• Admissions requirements, college types
and missions, affording college, college
culture, and relations with professors.
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5
Tracking Readiness Along Four Dimensions
for an Individual Student This Line shows an
optimal trajectory
College Ready Level
“Approaching College Ready” Zone
This line shows the
student’s content
knowledge, which
is stronger than the
optimal
This line shows the
student’s growth
on key cognitive
strategies, which
levels off in high
school
Benchmark 4
Benchmark 3
This line shows
academic
behaviors, which
dip precipitously in
10th grade, but
show a comeback
by 12th grade
This profile describes a
student whose content
knowledge is strong,
but for whom some
concerns remain:
cognitive strategies are
not developing, college
knowledge is below
optimal and academic
behaviors are
somewhat erratic. This
profile could be used to
diagnose and prescribe
in high school or to link
the student with support
services in college.
This line shows
student college
knowledge
strengthens late in
high school but
remains below
optimal
Benchmark 2
Benchmark 1
Grade
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CCR
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6
6th Grade
8th Grade
10th Grade
12th Grade
6
What Is Key Content Knowledge?
• Components:
–
–
–
–
Key terms and terminology
Factual information
Linking ideas
Organizing concepts
• The brain retains this type of information to the degree to
which it can:
– generate connections or links among the pieces to create an
internal structure for the information
– associate emotions, positive or negative, with the information
– find the information meaningful, relevant, or useful
– apply or use the information in a variety of authentic situations
– receive timely feedback on how useful the information was to
achieve a specific purpose or general goal.
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What Are Key Cognitive Strategies?
• What is a strategy?
– A systematic approach or plan to achieving an objective
– An elaborate plan of action that chooses among
alternative approaches and anticipates potential
problems that must be addressed for the objective to be
achieved successfully.
• What are cognitive strategies?
– Systematic approaches to achieve key learning goals
that take into account the rules and methods of the
academic disciplines that are necessary to achieving the
goal
– Elaborate plans of action that choose among alternative
approaches and anticipate potential problems that must
be addressed to solve a problem or complete a complex
task.
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Key Cognitive Strategies for
Postsecondary Readiness and Success
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Adults’ Use of
Cognitive Strategies
•Have you ever
purchased anything at
Ikea?
•Was “some assembly
required”?
•Consider the strategies
you typically use to
assemble such
merchandise and their
effectiveness.
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10
How Novices and Experts
Solve Problems
Novices:
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Experts:
are slower and more deliberate
know individual facts about topics
learn about pieces of systems
memorize bits of information and
encode the bits superficially
tend to focus on discrete
knowledge in isolation of the
structure of a discipline
reason in specific contexts by
using recently-acquired
information
recall information by rote
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
are faster and more accurate
organize facts into “chunks” for better
recall and application
integrate pieces of knowledge into
systems frameworks
connect new knowledge to existing
knowledge
learn through example and analogy
use analytical skills to apply knowledge
and select procedures
generalize knowledge to new settings
and circumstances
create mental cues to facilitate
recall
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11
The Novice-Expert Framework
• Based on recent results from brain and cognitive
sciences
– Brain organizes information into databases, which can
be retained through a variety of means
– Meaning is enhanced and retention strengthened when
the information is used for non-routine tasks and
activities
• Represents a vertical scale built off of a learning
or developmental progression
– Strategies are developed in the context of the content
area, consistent with cognitive science
– Repeated practice with a variety of challenging tasks or
materials is critical
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12
Novice-to-Expert Scale
Grades 6-12
Green indicates the student is on or above the pathway to college
readiness.
• Gray indicates performance levels not scored at that benchmark
level.
Benchmark
Benchmark
Benchmark
Level
• Blue
indicates the Benchmark
student is approaching
the pathway
to college
Level I (~6th grade)
Level II (~8th grade)
Level III (~10th grade)
College Ready
readiness.
•
Emerging
Expert
Emerging
Expert
Emerging
Expert
Emerging
Expert
Accomplished
Strategic Thinker
Accomplished
Strategic Thinker
Accomplished
Strategic Thinker
Accomplished
Strategic Thinker
Strategic Thinker
Strategic Thinker
Strategic Thinker
Strategic Thinker
Emerging
Strategic Thinker
Emerging
Strategic Thinker
Emerging
Strategic Thinker
Emerging
Strategic Thinker
Accomplished Novice
Accomplished Novice
Accomplished Novice
Accomplished Novice
Novice
Novice
Novice
Novice
Emerging
Novice
Emerging
Novice
Emerging
Novice
Emerging
Novice
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13
13
Example of a Cognitively Challenging Task
that Requires the Use of Strategies
Calculate Incarceration Rates in the United States
•
Recent news has given much coverage to the growing prison population in the
United States. Criminal justice organizations need to know the number of
people who will be under correctional supervision in the future in order to plan
ahead. The numbers will affect their budgets and the need for prison beds
and support services and will have implications for society more broadly as
well.
•
You have been hired to study the situation and make projections about future
incarceration rates. This includes the numbers of people in prisons, jails, and
on parole and probation.
•
You will prepare a report that presents your projections and explains how you
developed them. Two specifics you have been asked to address in your report
are:
– Projections of the affected population by 2020, 2025, 2030, and 2050.
– A prediction whether, and if so when, the rate of incarceration can be
expected to exceed 10 percent of the overall US population.
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Examples of Decisions Associated
with Formulating a Hypothesis
Hypothesizing Eliminate obviously wrong, impractical, or unrealistic hypotheses.
•Understand the intent of the problem.
•Consider mathematical constraints.
Represent the problem accurately.
• Define “incarceration.”
• Define range of years.
• Identify assumptions.
• Anticipate complexity of the problem.
Consider factors that affect the potential solution.
•Identify the full nature of the problem: Is it purely mathematical, or
might social constraints affect a plausible solution?
•Be aware that purely quantitative solutions to a social issue or
problem
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15
Examples of Decisions Associated
with Formulating a Strategy
Strategizing
Consider appropriateness and efficiency of strategy.
• Gauge availability of data sources and feasibility of accessing them.
• Consider mathematical constraints.
Consider prior experience with similar problems.
• Identify previous effective and ineffective strategies.
• Recognize that problem like this involve functions and graphing.
Consider some key principles or analytic issues.
• Understand that the problem involves plotting the interaction of two
variables: population over time.
• Recognize that the problem likely requires the use of a spreadsheet or
graphing calculator at the least.
• Recognize that there is no one right answer and that a good answer is
one that can be defended, and anticipate the need to explain or defend
all choices made.
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16
College and Career Readiness:
Same or Different?
• EPIC’s research on the content of courses in two-year
certificate programs is identifying the overlap between
college readiness and career readiness knowledge and
skills.
• Necessary academic content knowledge varies among twoyear certificate programs and between certificate programs
and general education courses at four-year institutions.
• However, almost all degree and certificate programs require
a strong academic foundation, and students in certificate
programs need strong skills in the Academic Behaviors
dimension of readiness.
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17
Welding Technology Certificate (A.S.):
Sample Student Learning Outcomes
(from Los Rios Community College)
•
•
•
•
•
Select the correct electrode
classification and parameters
for various thickness of
material and welding positions
on ferrous and nonferrous
metals.
Define principles of gas metal
arc welding.
Interpret GMA electrode and
classification and specification.
Select correct electrode
amperage settings for the job
application.
Interpret graphic welding
symbols.
•
•
•
•
Describe shielded metal arc
welding operations of various
positions using selected
electrodes on different joint
designs.
Explain the reason for the
formation of each discontinuity
type and distinguish different
discontinuities.
Interpret fabrication blueprints
using a systematic process.
Relate the requirements for
welding ferrous and nonferrous
metals.
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18
Highly Aligned
Cross-Disciplinary Standards
(Top five Performance Expectations)
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Alignment Analysis Results
To what degree are the CCRS cross-disciplinary skills aligned with
what is necessary to be prepared to succeed in entry-level CTE college
courses in Texas?
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20
Comparison of 3 CCRS Validity
Studies Results
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21
Texas College and Career
Readiness Standards Aligned with
a Career Pathway
• To what degree are the Texas CCRS aligned with what is
both necessary to succeed in or taught in Nursing or IT
Programming pathway courses?
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22
Interaction Between Cognition
and Behavior
• Cognition exists in a behavioral context.
• Thinking is more likely to occur when students
and teachers establish a mutually favorable
context.
• Thinking strategies have (or can have) behaviors
associated with them.
• Strategic thinking and strategic behaviors are
complementary notions.
– Students succeed to the degree to which they marshal a
suite of thinking strategies and learning behaviors
specific to the knowledge or skill in question.
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Effort as a Form of Aptitude
• US students tend to believe aptitude trumps
effort.
• Effort is more than trying hard.
– It is strategic and adaptive in nature and includes an
element of persistence.
– Doing the same thing and getting the same wrong answer
six times is not effort or persistence.
• Thoughtful errors are potentially more instructive
than all correct answers.
• For most people, effort will be far more important
than aptitude for academic and career success.
– Ability to make strategic adaptations based on experience
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24
Where Are We in the Journey?
• Very little acceptance in practice of the
multidimensional nature of college and career
readiness.
– Ironically, high school grades are a universally accepted
multidimensional measure, but few argue they meet
standards of psychometric rigor.
• The consortia common assessment proposals
begin to tip-toe into this arena, but they are very
limited in what they are proposing beyond
content knowledge measurement.
• Much experimentation ongoing to measure more
dimensions of college and career readiness.
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25
Closing Comments
• The reality is that college and career readiness is
truly multidimensional regardless of how we
choose to measure it.
• Restricting the information we are willing to use
to determine college and career readiness only
distorts the behaviors of students and teachers
so that they pay less attention to other key
dimensions of readiness.
• 21st Century measurement systems need to be
profile-like in nature and provide more actionable
information to students and schools, not just a
cut score to a college.
Copyright CCR Consulting Group © 2010. All rights reserved.
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