In the LOOPS project, we're designing innovative technology to explore optimal ways to provide formative assessment information to teachers. We're analyzing assessments and logs of students' actions as they use online curriculum materials, and creating timely, valid, and actionable reports to teachers. These reports allow teachers to make data-based decisions about alternative teaching strategies.
The National Science Foundation has awarded the Concord Consortium a grant for a new five-year project, Logging Opportunities in Online Programs for Science (LOOPS).
LOOPS is a national program that provides innovative resources to support inquiry in the middle school science classroom. The project makes innovative use of technology to create timely, valid, and actionable reports to teachers by analyzing assessments and logs of student actions generated in the course of using online curriculum materials. The reports allow teachers to make data-based decisions about alternative teaching strategies.
LOOPS will collect data on student progress, e.g., what activity each student is working on or has completed; plus student responses to questions and scores on various explicit assessments. The major innovation of LOOPS will be data on student inquiry skills obtained by monitoring how students learn from their explorations of models and probes. LOOPS will extract in real time a few key indicators of inquiry skills and present them in a format that teachers can use.
LOOPS will put teachers in a feedback loop of data, which will help inform their choice of assessments, actions, and curriculum customizations. These feedback loops will be classroom-tested with inquiry-based materials using probes and models focused on eighth grade physical science.
The LOOPS project is part of a long-term collaboration with the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Toronto.
LOOPS is both a technology and a pedagogical approach. To "LOOP (verb)" is to use student-related information, e.g., summary of student progress or artifacts created in a lesson, to inform instructional practice. A "LOOP (noun)" is a feedback loop, which we imagine being used as in the following scenario:
Each student or pair of students has use of a laptop; each teacher has a laptop connected to a projector. The students arrive in class, get into groups of two if appropriate for the lesson, and log into their laptops. The teacher starts the class with a class discussion and/or demonstration. She might ask a question and have students submit answers to her. She then might choose and display some of the answers and discuss them with the class. The students then work at their own pace on the activity. As the students work, the teacher circulates among them, periodically checking her own computer to view student work and summary information about student progress. The summary display lets her know how far along students are, how many times each student manipulated a computational model, how long each student spent on each question, and whether the students' answers are correct. As students begin to finish parts of the activity, the teacher selects several student answers as examples, and “releases“ those answers: the answers become visible anonymously on student machines on a separate page in the student activity. The teacher may also project the answers at the front of the classroom. At the end of class, or at the beginning of the next class, the teacher again displays students' answers to various questions and has students critique their peers' work.
To investigate this sort of classroom interaction, we began the project with four research questions:
- What LOOPS data gives insight into student learning?
- How do teachers use LOOPS resources?
- What is the impact of the LOOPS curriculum on student learning?
- How does the LOOPS professional development contribute to the impact of the LOOPS curriculum?
We're creating curriculum units for middle school physical science in the LOOPS project. Among these units are:
- States of Matter
- Changing Phase
- Motion Sensor Graphs
- Graphing Stories
- Exploring the Hydrogen Burn Model
- Hanging With Friends
- Force and Motion
- One-Dimensional Motion
- Space Rescue