Letter task – Metacognition: some observations


Quantitative data will be presented shortly, but … some interesting anecdotal observations can be made from the resent submission of the letter task.

In an earlier post I presented my ideas re students demonstrating their understanding of a film text using the letter modality. Students chose the modality of assessment after a discussion of the different options and their associated requirements.

Accompanying the submission of the task, students were also required to identify where on the rubric they thought they had achieved as well as responding to other “reflection” based prompts.

My observations:

  1. Most students demonstrated a good to very good understanding of the film, “Cool Runnings” and were able to indicate a good to very good level of critical thinking in relation to the film’s key ideas. ūüôā
  2. Generally, a number students were able to identify where they had achieved on the rubric.
  3. Their ability to show evidence of critical thinking re the “reflection prompts” were good, indicating a move along the metacognitive continuum.
  4. Answers were, on the most part, detailed (yay!) which indicates my focus on providing detail and what this means, is working.
  5. HOWEVER!!!!¬† A number of students did not adequately address the task’s requirement that they analyse two film techniques. They analysed two scenes (correct – but techniques had to be addressed in these scenes) very effectively, however, they could not receive marks indicative of their levels of comprehension because they did not address the task’s requirements in its entirety.

So, what does this tell me??? !! Well, if a number of students did this – what was I doing that created the misconception about the task?

Questions for myself:

  1. Was the task sheet too text heavy, therefore some of the details got “lost”? (maybe).¬†
  2. Did I not spend enough time making sure students understood what they had to do? (would appear so)

What should be done in future?

  1. I think a bit of Jean Blaydes-Madigan might be called for!!!
  2. Colour code?? Maybe
  3. Have students explain the task to each other? Make it active – how? hmm

On a positive note, I really was very happy to see the development in their ability to interact with a text and make some kind of evaluation re the director’s intention and the effect on the audience. I feel that the task catered for all levels of ability with ¬†the modality of the text (film), being one that was accessible to all students regardless of where they are in relation to cognitive development.¬† Now …¬†to get the task sheet / task explanation right!


About Kate Pill

I am a Secondary School teacher who is passionate about developing students' ability to answer the "who, what, when, why, how, what if and what next" questions over the course of their learning. A "mature starter" (read as - late!) to the teaching game, I am still developing my IT street smarts. This blog will chart my own journey through the metacognition landscape as I facilitate my students' understanding of not only WHAT they are learning but HOW they are learning it. Wish me luck!

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