Enriching Your Understanding: No Child Left Behind (p. 286)
How might the No Child Left Behind Act affect your instructional design decisions?
The requirement that students be able to pass a mandated test over state academic standards has numerous implications for your instructional design decisions. First, you will need to be aware of the relevant standards for your students and you will need to ensure that students have the opportunity to learn the knowledge required by those standards. An important professional issue you will need to consider is the difference between teaching a test and preparing students with the knowledge they need for a test. You and your colleagues will need to identify what types of preparation you want to provide students. The line between teaching a test and preparing student with the knowledge required by a test can get fuzzy, and its the type of professional issues teachers should discuss.
The No Child Left Behind requirement for research supported methods, especially in the area of reading may also have an impact on how you teach. No Child Left Behind defines what is meant by a research supported approach, but research often yields mixed efficacy data on different approaches. Part of your responsibility as a professional educator is to read educational research critically.
Enriching Your Understanding: Concept Lesson Formats (p. 300)
What other variables besides students prior knowledge might influence your choice of concept lesson format?
Both concept teaching formats can be effective, but there are some variables to consider in making your choice. First, all things being equal, an inductive approach is likely to take more time than a deductive approach for the same concept. This is not necessarily a criticism because if you want students to learn inquiry skills, it could be time well spent. However, if you have a large number of concepts to teach in a restricted amount of time, you will need to consider carefully how you spend that time. Second, your prior knowledge and experience level with different approaches to teaching concepts is important to consider. An abstract concept such as democracy in its many forms is likely to be more challenging to help students discover than a concrete concept such as triangle and has a finite number of characteristics. You may want to practice inductive methods first with finite and concrete concepts until you become comfortable scaffolding an inductive approach.
Focus On Learner Diversity: Universal Design for Learning (p. 288)
How might the requirement that students pass a mandated test in a particular test format influence your decisions about UDL?
UDL is an attempt to make both teaching and assessment as flexible as possible within an understanding of the goals of instruction. When the assessment conditions are fixed, they in essence become part of the learning goal. For example, if students need to be able to express their understanding of science in a well-constructed essay, then your goal becomes to help them learn both science and how to write a well-constructed essay. Your design would focus on multiple ways of accomplishing both these goals.
Focus On Learner Diversity: Development and Instructional Design (p. 305)
When implementing developmentally appropriate instruction, why is it important to be a careful observer and evaluator of your students?
Developmental norms for a particular age group provide a useful sense of what your students may be like. However, for the reasons we have given, you should be cautious in applying a generalization about an age group to a particular student. Observe and assess to find out what your students are like developmentally. Rather than saying I know what seven-year-olds are like, figure out what your seven-year-olds are like.