Posts Tagged ‘peerassessment’

SOLO Taxonomy Part 2

Posted: October 22, 2011 in learning, SOLO
Tags: , , ,

This is a follow-up to the post I wrote a few weeks back – you can read it here if you wish.

I have now used SOLO Taxonomy in many lessons this half term – I have used it for self assessment, peer assessment, co-constructing and student generated success criteria and linked it with learning intentions.

However, I wanted to use this post to show the quality of peer assessment and more importantly the high calibre of feedback (or feed-forward) my students gave each other when using SOLO Taxonomy.

Year 9 – assessment piece on Variation.

Using a student generated success criteria and in an agreed time allocation my students “set to learning” (my students don’t work!) to create an information poster on a chosen part of the Variation unit we had been learning (AQA Biology Unit 1 – new spec). Not the most aesthetically pleasing posters I’m sure you will agree – but the learning and thinking was phenomenal!

I then asked my students to use our SOLO taxonomy success criteria to peer assess each others learning. Firstly to indicate why the posters were at a certain stage and secondly how their peer needed to improve their learning to get to the next stage on the SOLO Taxonomy.

I have chosen a selection of what was written, and typed it exactly as my student’s wrote them;

Example 1

MULTISTRUCTURAL – “You are here because you gave several ideas about the cells but didn’t manage to link them together”

RELATIONAL – “To get to this level you need to link them together”

Example 2

RELATIONAL – “She has several ideas about cell structure and DNA and she has linked them together”

EXTENDED ABSTRACT – “Add ideas in a new and different ways”

Example 3

RELATIONAL – “he has linked the nucleus to the chromosomes, dna, genes – he has also detailed these and has written multiple facts”

EXTENDED ABSTRACT – “to get to this point you need to use a metaphor to explain these facts to others”

Example 4

EXTENDED ABSTRACT – “you have given snippets of info. you have also linked it to the big picture by drawing diagrams. Finally you have created a way of remembering it for you and other people”

Now considering this was the second time my Year 9 students had seen and used SOLO – I was very impressed by the detail and formative comments they gave each other.

Year 7 – assessment on Particles (Solids, Liquids and Gases)

I used a similar format with my Year 7 students – we co-constructed the success criteria this time and I spent considerably longer explaining SOLO Taxonomy. I personally believed that this had more of an impact than before as the following examples hopefully show…

Again I have typed the comments out exactly as they were written by my students.

Example 1

MULTISTRUCTURAL – “I also say that she got multistructural because she didn’t link gas to the rest. try to learn more about gases so that you can link them all together”

RELATIONAL – “I say relational because she has linked solid and liquid together by saying liquid particles still cannot be squashed – just like solids. Try to learn more about all of them so you have more info to link together”

Example 2

MULTISTRUCTURAL – “I think Tyler’s work is multistructural because he has talked about several ideas about all the particles”

RELATIONAL – “To get to relational, Tyler’s work needs to link his ideas together, like to link the properties of the particles together”

Example 3

RELATIONAL – “because you have lots of ideas and can link them together like liquids have weak bonds so they can move around”

EXTENDED ABSTRACT – “it could have improved by putting the ideas into a different background, so it made sense but looked at in a different way”

Example 4

RELATIONAL – “I think this piece of work is relational because the work is correct and he has linked all the properties of the particles together and linked it into a big picture”

EXTENDED ABSTRACT – “It could be in here if you said what the particles reminded you of – he needs to say that it’s like something else and why”


I’m sure you will agree it is difficult to measure the impact or the benefit to learning that SOLO Taxonomy has had in these lessons simply by reading these comments. I intend to take videos and podcasts next half term (thanks to @Croix2000  for the idea) which will provide further evidence hopefully. However, I was both pleasantly surprised and impressed with the level of care and attention that my students showed when giving feedback. I also thought that the quality of their comments were brilliant – far superior to anything they have produced so far. To me, this indicates that they “get” SOLO and “get” how it can be used to not only assess their learning but also how they can use it to provide constructive feedback to help them improve. An over used saying by me in class is “let’s improve what we know, not prove what we know”.

Milestones are important,  and I think this is one.

Today I have altered my Twitter bio – I wanted to tell followers and others that I love SOLO Taxonomy and the benefits it can have on deep and connective learning. I thought long and hard about how to write this on my bio……I settled happily with “SOLO learner”.

I highly recommend you become one too.