Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Many Facets of Reading standard #7

The many manifestations of Common Core reading standard #7 in the high school classroom.

The College and Career Ready Standards (CCRS) version:

Synthesize and apply information presented in diverse ways (e.g., through words, images, graphs, and video) in print and digital sources in order to answer questions, solve problems, or compare modes of presentation.

The four 11-12th grade instances:

  • Compare and contrast multiple interpretations of a drama or story (e.g., recorded or live productions), distinguishing how each version interprets the source text. (This includes at least one play by Shakespeare as well as one play by an American dramatist.)
  • Synthesize and apply multiple sources of information presented in different formats in order to address a question or solve a problem, including resolving conflicting information.
  • Synthesize ideas and data presented graphically and determine their relationship to the rest of a print or digital text, noting discrepancies between the graphics and other information in the text.
  • Synthesize information in different formats by representing complex information in a text in graphical form (e.g., a table or chart) or translating a graphic or equation into words.

The apparent predecessor of the CCRS version from the first draft:

11. Synthesize data, diagrams, maps, and other visual elements with words in the text to further comprehension.

There are no updated benchmarking links for the apparently now final CCRS. Here are quotes from the documents cited as benchmarks of the draft version:

American Diploma Project:

F5. Interpret and use information in maps, charts, graphs, time lines, tables and diagrams.

G1 (not originally cited but seems to fit the new version). Evaluate the aural, visual and written images and other special effects used in television, radio, film and the Internet for their ability to inform, persuade and entertain.

Intersegmental Committee of the Academic Senates:

Students entering colleges and universities will be expected to read a variety of texts, including news articles, textbooks, essays, research of others, Internet resources.

Understanding University Success: A Report from Standards for Success

F. Successful students are able to read and interpret visual images, including charts and graphs. They:
F.1. identify the primary elements of the types of charts, graphs and visual media that occur most commonly in texts.
F.2. interpret accurately the content of charts, graphs and visual media that occur in texts.

Reading Framework for the National Assessment of Educational Progress 2009:

Integrate and Interpret: The next set of reading behaviors refers to what readers do as they integrate new informa­ tion into their initial sense of what a passage says, often interpreting what they read in the process. When readers engage in behaviors involving integrating and interpreting, they make comparisons and contrasts of information or character actions, examine relations across aspects of text, or consider alternatives to what is presented in text. This aspect of the reading is critical to comprehension and can be considered the stage in which readers really move beyond the discrete information, ideas, details, themes, and so forth pre­ sented in text and extend their initial impressions by processing information logically and completely. As readers integrate information and interpret what they read, they frequently form questions, use mental images, and make connections that draw on larger sections of text, often at an abstract level. They also draw on their knowledge of the structure and elements of literary and informational text...
Procedural Texts and Documents: As the matrix shows, document texts on the 2009 NAEP Reading Assessment may in­ clude, but are not limited to, tables and charts. Stand-alone procedural text or documents will not be included at grades 4 and 8; such text will be embedded in or ancillary to con­ tinuous text. They may appear as stand-alone stimuli at grade 12 but their use will ac­ count for only a small amount of the stimuli in the entire assessment. It is likely that many of the documents may be used as part of intertextual item sets. For example, a stu­ dent might encounter a bar graph and a timeline with items that relate to both texts.

English-Language Arts Content Standards for California Public Schools:

2.1 Analyze the structure and format of functional workplace documents, including the graphics and headers, and explain how authors use the features to achieve their purposes.

Virginia Postsecondary Outreach Campaign and Data Collection, Essential English Skills Analysis:

F5. Interpret and use information in maps, charts, graphs, time lines, tables and diagrams.

British Columbia, Grade 12 Prescribed Learning Outcomes:

B12. recognize and explain how structures and features of text shape readers’ and viewers’ construction of meaning and appreciation of author’s craft, including

  • form and genre
  • functions of text
  • literary elements
  • literary devices
  • use of language
  • non-fiction elements
  • visual/artistic devices

Hong Kong Numeracy Skills, Senior Secondary:

  1. provide or find out, select, analyse, organise and present quantitative information on topics using appropriate tools and strategies such as surveys, questionnaires, interviews, tables and charts
  2. understand, interpret and use quantitative information through processes or activities such as ordering, describing, classifying, comparing, explaining, justifying, predicting, inferring and drawing conclusions to solve real-life or simulated problems (e.g. drawing up a proposal to request assistance or contribution with the support of quantitative evidence)
Ontario Canada, Grade 12 Reading and Literature 2.1:

identify a variety of characteristics of literary, informational, and graphic text forms and demonstrate insight into the way they help communicate meaning (e.g., quoted material is used in a literary essay to support the analysis or argument, and the thesis is often restated and extended in the conclusion; recurring imagery and/or symbols often help to develop themes in poems, stories, and plays; the structure of a son- net provides a framework for the poem’s content)

Teacher prompts: “What can you expect to find in the concluding couplet of a Shakespearean sonnet?” “How could you adapt a short story to a ‘graphic novel’ format? What literary ele- ments would you need to preserve?”


Construct meaning from visuals: pictures, charts, diagrams, symbols, graphs, tables, maps

This is not a perfect comparison, because they've expanded the scope of the CCRS in the new version, but it is the best we've got until they release a new benchmark document, which will almost certainly never happen.

While we're at it, here's the 9-10th grade versions from the Common Core:

  • Compare and contrast the representation of a subject or a key scene in two different artistic mediums (e.g., Auden’s “Musée de Beaux Arts” and Breughel’s Landscape with the Fall of Icarus).
  • Compare and contrast the accounts of a subject in different mediums (e.g., a person’s life story told in print, video, or multimedia), analyzing which details are emphasized and how the account unfolds in each version.
  • Integrate quantitative or technical information presented in maps, time lines, and videos with other information in a print or digital text.
  • Integrate quantitative or technical information presented graphically (e.g., in a flowchart, diagram, model, graph, or table) with other information in a text.

OK, some thoughts, somewhat jumbled for obvious reasons:

  • Why are there both 11th and 12th grade and CCRS standards? What's the difference? What's the relationship between the two?
  • There is no reason to cram analysis of artistic media into your "can read charts" standard.
  • Arbitrary over-specificity: is "comparing and contrasting multiple interpretations of a drama or story" really the only way to meet this standard for reading literature in 11th and 12th grade? I can't, say, write a thesis on the interplay of text and visuals in illuminated manuscripts or the evolution of pictographic scripts? The forced over-specificity is clear in contrast to every other standard they cite as a benchmark.
  • Arbitrary "rigor:" Why does the Social Studies version of the 12th grade standard include "noting discrepancies between the graphics and other information in the text." Is that going to be on the test? Do we need to prepare exercises which include graphics that conflict with the text? Is that a common problem?
  • Many or most of the grade-level standards are sort of curriculum hints or assessment specifications, not standards.
  • The way the draft Common Core ELA standards are constructed is really, really different than any other ELA standards used anywhere in the world. Also, they're a conceptual mess.

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