Common Core and Marzano Classroom Strategies, Part 3

Presenting and supporting quality claims is all part of succeeding with Common Core. The Marzano model Design Questions 3 and 4 address strategies to help students identify errors in reasoning and formulate strong hypotheses.

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. Last time, we talked about understanding relationships. Today, we’ll discuss presenting and supporting claims.

Presenting and Supporting Quality Claims with Backing
One aim of instruction is to engage students in thinking activities leading to the development of new ideas or conclusions. In Design Question 4, Helping Students Generate and Test Hypotheses, students take their deepened knowledge, construct a hypothesis of what might happen in a different context, test it, and draw a conclusion. The hypothesis may be thought of as a claim.

The quality of a claim is determined by its support, or its grounds and backing. Grounds can include:

1. Common knowledge
2. Experimental evidence
3. Factual evidence, found in reputable sources

The quality of the grounds is called backing. Backing may include the credentials of the expert or source who supports the claim.

For example, if you are having a debate over the Obama administration’s economic policies, one side may claim that during an economic slowdown (recession/depression) it is important that the government provide the unemployed with jobs, so they have money to spend to jump-start the economy. Even though the deficit spending adds to the national debt, and may be a burden to future generations, it is the only way out of an economic downturn. To back this claim, the students may point to the economic policies of Franklin Delano Roosevelt (factual evidence), who used deficit spending to stimulate the economy and get us out of the Great Depression of 1929-1939.

On the other hand, students might argue that the opposite is true. The government should reduce spending and taxes, so the private sector (businesses) and consumers have more money to spend. The private sector is more effective and efficient in terms of creating jobs and stimulating the economy. They might quote more conservative economists to back up their claims (reputable sources).

Students would then have to evaluate the grounds of each argument to determine which claim has the most merit.

Both English Language Arts and Mathematics Common Core State Standards ask students to present and support claims. This skill is developed as one of the eight Mathematical Practices: eight practices that teachers should be working on at every grade level in order for students to be “college and career ready.” In ELA Common Core, students at all grade levels must read, analyze, answer explicit questions, and back their claims citing evidence from the text.

Design Question 3 element 18, Examining Errors in Reasoning, also helps students with quality claims: Here students learn to cite evidence from the text when making a claim or answering a question from a literary or informational reading.

The Marzano Teacher Evaluation Model offers an array of strategies to help you succeed with Common Core Standards. Like to find out more? Check out our Common Core regional conferences, coming soon to a city near you!

Want to learn more about classroom strategies that have been shown to measurably increase student achievement? Join us for International Marzano Conference 2013 and talk to Dr. Marzano, our bloggers, and our Center experts in person!

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