ERIC Identifier: ED377512
Publication Date: 1995-00-00
Author: Battistini, Janet
Source: ERIC Clearinghouse on
Reading English and Communication Bloomington IN.
From Theory to Practice: Classroom Application of Outcome-Based
Education. ERIC Digest.
This digest will focus on Outcome-Based Education in the language arts
classroom. Though Outcome-Based Education must involve administrators,
educators, parents and students, ultimately it is the classroom teacher who is
the key to the success of the program. The most basic premise of Outcome-Based
Education (OBE) states that all students are capable of learning and can achieve
high levels of competency when teachers delineate their expectations. When this
is done, students feel they are participants in classroom decisions and tend to
be more supportive of all aspects of the class. Thus, one of the main objectives
of OBE is met as students and staff both take responsibility for successful
Any teacher involved with OBE must be able to evaluate the effectiveness of
his/her classroom experience implementing OBE. The following list delineates
some of the tenets of OBE, and this digest will demonstrate how some of these
tenets are utilized in the language arts/reading classroom:
staff and students take responsibility for successful learning.
are clearly defined.
have choices and options, thus they usually perform at higher levels of
levels are determined after complete assessment of student mastery.
are given the opportunity to gain from others and to build a hierarchy of
by both peers and instructors is ongoing.
is varied for learning according to the needs of each student and the complexity
of the task.
are given the opportunity to work with core and alternative curriculum.
students are ensured the opportunity for personal success.
CREATING A COMMUNITY OF READERS AND WRITERS
course the instructor must make a sincere attempt to meet each student at
his/her level of competency and build upon the "strengths already there." The
first week a profile of reading/writing strengths of each student is created.
This is done in a nonthreatening manner and is personalized as much as possible.
Students are tested with the revised Gates-MacGinite Reading Tests---Vocabulary
and Comprehension. In addition, students produce a writing sample in the
classroom while listening to classical music.
As part of the profile, students complete two different interest inventories.
Students also write a brief biography at this time and share these with a small
group. By the end of the first several days of the course, students have clear
objectives of the program, a classroom climate of mutual respect has been built,
and the teacher has a great deal of information about each student. At this
juncture there is a completed assessment of student mastery in varied areas, and
one can determine where instructional levels will begin.
ONGOING ASSESSMENT BY STUDENTS AND INSTRUCTORS
An area in
the language arts/reading programs where ongoing assessment is of great value is
in peer editing and teacher conferences. To teach reading and writing in a
comprehensive manner, the teacher must realize that not all students will be
working on the same activity during the same time. Varying the time for learning
according to the needs of each student and the complexity of the task are
especially apparent in the writing process. Student intervention with a specific
writing partner or small group will give the necessary feedback.
While peer editing is essential, teacher conferences are a significant
feature of the writing process. Students feel very special as the instructor
focuses all his/her attention on the student and the writing. When conferencing
with students it is important to distinguish at least two areas of expertise and
two areas for improvement on a given assignment. The instructor should keep
written notes on the writing details, and the student needs to keep written
verification of these notes. Thus both teacher and student know where the
student needs instruction, and the teacher can easily and accurately check for
mastery of this objective in the next writing piece. Students keep their writing
in a portfolio and often select representative work for the portfolio with the
input of the instructor as well as that of other students.
THE WORLD IS A TEXTBOOK
It is significant to note that a
textbook is not used for these classes. A regular textbook would bring a sense
of confinement, and it is preferable to use trade books and authentic materials
from the world around the students. Each year units of study that meet the
changing needs of the student population are developed and integrated into the
curricula. Past units have included socioeconomic issues, ecology, and music and
its role in the life of teenagers. In this manner one can build upon the
interests of the students and individualize their classroom experience.
Integral to this program is the completion of projects, reports, and group
activities rather than a myriad of summative tests. These evaluations are
usually a better assessment of a student's thoughts. The projects are often
open-ended, giving the students freedom to explore whatever their interests and
abilities lead them to.
SECRETS OF SUCCESS OF AN OUTCOME-BASED EDUCATION PROGRAM
to have your total staff in concert with the tenets of your program. Teachers
need updated education and are usually open to new ideas and will implement them
if they feel significant support from administration and other staff members.
Plan a day-long program at the outset for introducing and educating the staff
with the objectives of your resolve. Speakers for our staff development programs
have included both outside presenters and our own personnel. Sometimes outside
presenters have a wide appeal and bring a fresh approach to a given subject. Our
program has been effective for many reasons, but one is the direct input of the
staff in deciding what they want in terms of staff development.
to conference with content area teachers. Because language arts is the basis for
all other disciplines, continue to make yourself available to other staff
members for support and assistance with specific areas of Outcome-Based
Education. Some staff members will need more direction as new concepts are
introduced and implemented. Become familiar with the texts used by other
departments, and you will be able to offer assistance as new ideas are
is contagious, and others will see the benefits of the program and be more eager
to share their concerns and ideas with you. Sometimes it is beneficial to begin
with just a few new ideas, and then as a comfort zone is established, the more
dramatic steps can be taken.
Not every time a class meets will it incorporate all aspects of OBE. However,
by focusing on the growth and progress of the individual student, one usually
sees a pattern of success. Mutual trust is built from the first day of the
course and carries through to every aspect of the classroom experience. Every
class has a personality of its own, and the unique chemistry of students and
instructors learning and teaching with common goals is a form of achievement
that cannot easily be measured. The long-term effects of competent teachers
interacting with motivated students is never really known. However, one can
identify when short-term goals have been met. Such successes of student-teacher
cooperation and achievement have greatly enhanced the effectiveness of many
using these objectives.
For additional information, consult the
Brookhart, Donna, and Pat McGuire (1991). From Task List to Curriculum: A
Teacher's Guide to Outcome-Based Curriculum. Second Edition. [ED 344 052]
Burns, Robert, and David Squires (1987). Curriculum Organization in
Outcome-Based Education. San Francisco: Far West Lab for Educational Research
& Development. [ED 294 313]
Glatthorn, Allan A. (1993). "Outcome-Based Education: Reform and the
Curriculum Process." Journal of Curriculum and Supervision, 8(4), 354-64. [EJ
Jacobsen, Gary, and Cynthia Jacobsen (1992). One School's Approach to Outcome
Based Education. Paper presented at the Rural & Small Schools Conference
(Grand Forks). [ED 347 034]
Marzano, Robert J. (1994). "Lessons from the Field about Outcome-Based
Performance Assessments." Educational Leadership, 51(6), 44-50. [EJ 481 246]
Mitchell, Linda, et al. (1993). "Designing Successful Learning: Staff
Development for Outcome-Based Instruction." Journal of Staff Development, 14(3),
28-31. [EJ 482 527]
Shanks, Joyce (1993). Unintended Outcomes: Curriculum and Outcome-Based
Education. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational
Research Association (Atlanta). [ED 359 205]
Wenzlaff, Terri (1992). Performance-Based Education: How One District Handled
State Mandates. [ED 365 664]