Rapid surveys of student thinking
Adapting your curriculum to students’ current needs is an important aspect of teaching. Here we present strategies for rapidly surveying student thinking and then analyzing their responses to make adaptations to your current curriculum and to guide instructional decisions. These strategies are described in a tool referred to as Rapid Surveys of Student Thinking (RSST).
The RSST tool can be used in conjunction with the 1st discourse tool (Eliciting students’ hypotheses to shape instructional decisions). The RSST guides you in creating tasks or questions that will help reveal 4 dimensions of students’ thinking:
- What partial understandings they already have of the target ideas
- What kinds of alternative conceptions they have and whether any of these may be consequential to further learning
- What kinds of everyday language students use to describe target phenomena
- What kinds of everyday experiences students have, related to the target ideas, that could be used as leverage points for instruction.
If you would like to see teachers talking about how they surveyed students’ thinking to guide instruction, you can go to the following pages.
- Janet teaching about fungi to middle school students
- Melissa teaching about forces and motion to middle school students
- Brian teaching the physics of sound to high school students
- Bethany teaching about the Gas Laws to high school students