How to Design Questions and Tasks to Assess Student Thinking

How to Design Questions and Tasks to Assess Student Thinking

How to Design Questions and Tasks to Assess Student Thinking

How to Design Questions and Tasks to Assess Student Thinking

Synopsis

With new standards emphasizing higher-order thinking skills, students will have to demonstrate their ability to do far more than simply remember facts and procedures. But what's the best way for teachers to ensure that students have such skills? In this highly accessible guide, author Susan M. Brookhart shows how to do just that, by providing specific guidelines for designing targeted questions and tasks that align with standards and assess students' ability to think at higher levels.

Aided by dozens of examples across grade levels and subject areas, readers will learn how to

• Take a student perspective and view assessment questions and tasks as problems to solve.• Design multiple-choice questions that require higher-order thinking.• Understand the difference between open and closed questions and how to use open questions effectively.• Vary and control the features of performance assessment tasks, including cognitive level and difficulty, to target different thinking skills.• Manage the assessment of higher-order thinking within the larger context of teaching and learning.

Brookhart also provides an idea bank that teachers can use to jump-start their own thinking as they create assessments.

Timely and practical, How to Design Questions and Tasks to Assess Student Thinking is essential reading for 21st century teachers who want their students to excel in the classroom and beyond.

Excerpt

In Liam’s 5th grade science class, students memorize the properties of solids, liquids, and gases. They take quizzes with questions such as “The temperature at which a solid changes to a liquid is called the ————.” They answer questions such as “What happens when water boils?” by finding the appropriate explanations in their textbook and rewriting them in their own words to show they understand.

Fifth grader Olivia’s science class uses the same textbook. The students take some quizzes, too. Most of their questions, however, are more like this: “Water boils at a lower temperature in the mountains than it does at sea level. Sam lives in the mountains. He is boiling carrots to serve at dinner. Would it take a longer or shorter time to cook the carrots than it would take at sea level? Explain your answer.”

Both of these 5th graders are learning about states of matter. But Olivia will learn more and remember it longer than Liam. The kinds of questions her teacher asks help her use her knowledge of states of matter, connecting it to other knowledge and reasoning processes, and at the same time show her that there is a purpose for knowing these things.

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