Getting to Know the Dimensions of Performance for Learn Through Research

Take a minute now to look over the performance continuum for Learn Through Research. Each of the six levels is on a separate page.

Section 1 — The Components of Performance

The continuum begins with the definition of the standard, one that remains the same for each level of performance. Including the definition as the starting point for each performance level description reminds us that the definition of the standard as an integrated skill process is consistent across the continuum.

Section 2 — Knowledge, Skills and Strategies

The second section is a list of the key knowledge, skills, and cognitive and metacognitive strategies to be mastered for proficient performance at each level. These are the primary behavioral indicators (or benchmarks) of proficient performance at each level.

Bullet 1 focuses on the understanding of the process of research as the gathering and making sense of information in order to meet a specified purpose, and the posing of questions or the making of predictions that can be researched. As students move up the levels, the expectation is that the level of complexity of their questions and predictions will increase. They will also be expected to use more resources to research their questions or predictions as they advance through the levels.
Bullet 2 deals with identifying sources of information and gathering information from each source through the use of strategies, such as drawing on personal experience and prior knowledge, asking questions, using internet search engines, listening to the input of others, and designing and carrying out experiments. As students move up the levels, the range of sources of information and strategies for gathering information increases.
Bullet 3 deals with the organization of information (through restating, paraphrasing, analysis, and synthesis) in order to evaluate the relevance and usefulness of the collected information to the research question and to integrate relevant information with prior knowledge. Strategies such as comparison/contrast, drawing analogies, and cause/effect analysis may be used with increasing complexity to evaluate the relevance of the information.
Bullets 4 deals with the student's use of strategies - such as trial and error, interim summaries and evaluation of findings, and verification with multiple lines of inquiry - to monitor the effectiveness of his or her inquiry process and make adjustments of their approach based on feedback.
Bullets 5 focuses on the student's communication of findings related to the research question. As students move up levels, they are expected to be able to use more and more advanced methods of communication, starting with, for example, brief but accurate oral restatement and advancing to extensive oral or written reports.

Section 3 — Fluency, Independence and Range

This section is a description of the fluency, independence, and ability to perform in a range of settings expected for proficient performance on the standard at each level.

  • Fluency of performance refers to the level of effort or ease required for an adult to retrieve and apply what he or she knows in order to research a particular question.
  • Independence of performance reflects the extent to which the person needs direction or guidance in organizing, solving, and communicating the research.
  • Range of performance refers both to how well a person can use researching skills and whether the person can transfer learning from one context to another. This includes both a range of kinds and complexity of researching tasks, and a range of contexts and audiences for tasks.

Section 4 — Examples of Proficient Performance

This section includes examples of the kinds of purposeful applications of the standard that can be accomplished by an adult who is proficient at each level. These examples represent only a few of many researching acitivities that could be developed in adult education settings.

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