In order to achieve, students need to gain more than a basic understanding in their subject areas.
At John Paul College we have been exploring ways to encourage students to be conscious of the depth of their understanding and to gauge their understanding of key concepts.
One strategy is SOLO Taxonomy, which is a tool for finding out the pupils’ level of understanding. Students (and teachers) can use the SOLO (Structure of Observed Learning Outcomes) taxonomy, along with associated maps and assessment rubrics to identify the level they are working at, then work upwards through the levels as they build their knowledge.
SOLO Taxonomy divides understanding into five levels shown through visual prompts:
1. At the first, “prestructural” level, the pupil needs help to start the task.
2. At the “unistructural” stage, they pick up on one idea and have a surface understanding of the tasks.
3. At the “multistructural” stage they know several aspects, but these are unrelated. This is at the Achieved Level in NCEA subjects.
4. By the time the pupil has reached the “relational stage”, they can integrate facts. This is at the Merit Level in NCEA subjects.
5. At the final stage, “extended abstract”, pupils have broad knowledge, look at the facts in a new way and can use them to predict and generalise. This is at the Excellence Level in NCEA subjects.
One resource which we have used to demonstrate SOLO to our students is a You Tube clip using Lego blocks. View it here