Friday, 11 May 2018

Learn - Research - SOLO Taxonomy from 2017 COL Inquiries

SOLO Taxonomy was written about in 1982 by Biggs and Collins, but since then Pam Hook seems to have taken the reigns and launched it into classrooms in the 21st Century. SOLO provides a "simple and robust model" to describe different levels of understanding.

The image below shows prestructural understanding (you don't know much yet and that's ok), unistructural understanding (you know one thing about the concept), multistructural (you know a few things about this idea), relational (starting to understand the links between and across ideas) and finally extended abstract thinking (where you can take what you know and apply it in a new setting, or create something new).

Tamaki's SOLO Queen has to be Karen. She has a whole segment on her blog dedicated to the SOLO resources she's created - both general frameworks and design-specific ones! She also worked with Brent Dunn from the Maori department to design a Tamaki College-style SOLO poster in Te Reo.

One of Karen's earliest activities was to get students first describing at the unistructural or multistructural level, and then she continued on with a Google drawing that made 'describing' at each SOLO level very explicit and clear. I actually found the Drawing in Karen's trash through one of her links - she's obviously moved beyond her earlier attempts and as I continue exploring her 2017 posts I'm sure I'll come across even cooler examples!

Ah here we go! An upgraded model. Karen has removed the 'include evidence' column to streamline student's work process and included a column titled 'target vocabulary' to make her subject-specific vocabulary more explicit.

I can see Karen constantly reflecting as I explore her posts. The one I'm reading at the moment says "I looked at the support I had included on their class site [for evaluating their final poster designs] and decided it was not good enough." Onya Karen, you're so honest! She decided to upgrade the support so students write an analysis at increasing depth of SOLO levels (see image below). Once again she's included key vocabulary explicitly, and also given sentence starters to support lower-ability students.

Karen also used SOLO hexagons (one of Pam Hook's ideas) to collect (multistructural) and get students to identify links between (relational level) her new Year 9's vocabulary around a clock they were analysing.

Noelene also used SOLO taxonomy to break down her Level 1 standards for her learners, such as in the multivariate statistics standard and again in the algebra standard. This made it really clear for students about what they needed to be able to do to achieve, and how a deeper understanding would lead to better grades.

I really like the clarity that using SOLO as a learning framework affords. Students can identify what they can and can't do from the framework, and it also makes 'beginning at the start' acceptable; being at the prestructural level of a concept is normal at the start! The SOLO levels also really nicely align with the depth of thinking and writing required in NCEA for Merit (relational) and Excellence (relational and extended abstract) work.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Nicola. You post reminds me of all the things I have done over the last year. I still continue to constantly play with how I include SOLO in my everyday class work.