


Using the Performance Continuum Within the Teaching and Learning CycleThe EFF Teaching and Learning Toolkit http://eff.cls.utk.edu/toolkit describes how practitioners can use the EFF teaching and learning cycle to plan and carry out instruction based on the EFF Standards. This section suggests key points within the teaching and learning cycle where teachers can use the performance continuum to guide planning and assessment based on the Use Math to Solve Problems and Communicate Standard. Before Instruction: Assessing Prior KnowledgeIn Steps 1 and 2 of the EFF Teaching and Learning Cycle, teachers and learners determine individual and then group goals and purposes and identify the standard that will help the group to achieve a shared goal. Once students have selected a standard to work on* teachers need to determine students' prior knowledge in relationship to the standard. Teachers also need to assess any subject area or content knowledge students have or need to have to accomplish their goal. The performance continuum can be an important tool at this stage. Below are some tips for using the performance continuum to assess prior knowledge. *See the Supports section of the Teaching and Learning Toolkit for tips on working with more than one standard. Using the Performance Continuum to Assess Prior Knowledge
In order to think about how the performance continuum can be used with the teaching and learning cycle, let's consider an example from the classroom. This example will describe an activity developed at an evening adult education class made up of adult basic education students at the high intermediate level. The class meets for 6 hours a week. Most of the students have daytime jobs and quite a few have children. As they discussed their work and home responsibilities, they discovered that many of them had financial concerns and they talked at length about their worries about living beyond their means. They have identified being able to develop a monthly budget as one of their group goals. As they went through Steps 1 and 2 of the cycle they decided to work on this goal using the Use Math to Solve Problems and Communicate Standard (Steps 1 and 2). Once the goal and the standard were selected, their teacher reviewed the performance continuum. Looking at the level descriptions, she compared these to what she already knew about each based on standardized test data and records of students who were enrolled in math classes the previous semester. Based on this preliminary analysis, she felt that most of the students would probably be working toward a Performance Level 3 benchmark with a few working toward Levels 2 and 4. In order to gain additional information, the teacher also customized some tools from Step 2 of the Teaching and Learning Toolkit. She asked students to describe their previous experience in creating budgets, she asked them about what they do when they budget their paycheck, and she asked them to try their hand at developing a budget for groceries as a baseline. She used this information to fine tune her assessment of student levels and lesson planning.
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