Common Core and Marzano Classroom Strategies, Part 1

Tips for getting students from premises to conclusions.

In Using Common Core Standards to Enhance Classroom Instruction and Assessment, Dr. Marzano documents strategies you can use to successfully implement Common Core State Standards. Today, we’ll discuss classroom strategies to generate hypotheses and conclusions (Design Question 4).

Generating ConclusionsGenerating conclusions involves taking known information or facts (the new knowledge students have previously interacted with and practiced) and synthesizing that information to generate new information or ideas. Known facts or information are called premises.

For example, in a high school economics course, you might give students the following premises:

1. You are in an economic downturn, and you need to increase the money supply to stimulate the economy.
2. Fiscal policy includes government spending and taxation, which can affect the money supply.
3. Monetary policy includes the Federal Reserve raising and lowering interest rates, and selling and buying government securities that also affects the money supply.

Knowing this, what would you conclude you should do during an inflationary period?

In a middle school you might frame the premises this way:

1. Prices are rising; it is an inflationary period.
2. The government needs to decrease spending, thus decreasing the money supply.
3. The Federal Reserve Bank needs to raise the interest rates, thus decreasing the money supply.

Knowing this, what would you conclude you should do during a downturn in the economy?

You’d use Design Question 2, Helping Students Interact with New Knowledge, and Design Question 3, Helping Students Practice and Deepen New Knowledge, to teach the basic economic facts and terms: fiscal and monetary policy, interest rates, money supply, government securities, depression, inflation, and recession, etc. When your students are ready to move on to Design Question 4, Helping Students Generate and Test Hypotheses, try these strategies:

1. Organize students into groups and have them make predictions about what would happen if different scenarios of fiscal and monetary policy were implemented during inflationary periods and periods of recession/depression.
2. For example, you might ask them what fiscal and monetary policies Franklin Delano Roosevelt implemented when faced with the Great Depression? Do you think they were the same policies President Barack Obama used when faced with a severe economic downturn?
3. After they have made predictions and generated conclusions, have students research what policies Roosevelt and Obama used. Ask them to determine if their hypotheses or conclusions were correct.
4. Ask students to write a short essay or give an oral presentation explaining their conclusions and how their thinking was right or wrong.

These exercises would help meet a number of Common Core Standards including the following:

1. Reading complex text and analyzing it
2. Citing facts when drawing conclusions
3. Speaking and writing about text
4. Participating in group discussion

Research has shown that learning to generate and test hypotheses can significantly increase student achievement – by as much as 23 percentile points*, according to some studies. And as you can see, using the Marzano Teacher Evaluation Model and Common Core State Standards work hand and hand. Imagine telling student to leap to conclusions!

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