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Starting the Instructional Design Process

This is an excerpt from Dance Teaching Methods and Curriculum Design 2nd Edition With Web Study Guide by Gayle Kassing & Danielle Jay-Kirschenbaum.

The components of a dance curriculum are connected; one component builds on the next. The dance lesson plan is the basis for curriculum development. (Chapter 9 covers learning domains relating to dance, and chapter 11 covers formulating a lesson plan.) Next, a dance unit plan is a series of related lessons on the same content. A course is several dance units taught during a term. Two or more courses make up a yearly plan or program that may be part of longer programs of up to four years, such as those found in public schools or college settings.

The foundation of a curriculum is its instructional design, which refers to the methods and processes that are used in planning, delivering, and evaluating lessons and units. The design contains the management requirements for the different classroom situations. Implementing the instructional design process begins by setting lesson plan objectives or outcomes and assessment measures that extend to the unit and larger curriculum components.

Selecting Objectives or Outcomes

SMART design unit and course objectives or outcomes direct the teaching and testing. Writing a student behavioral learning objective or a learning outcome and developing a lesson plan become the foundation for extending lesson plans into a series of sequential lessons, or a unit. SMART design unit and course objectives or outcomes indicate the expectations for students to learn certain material, exercise intellectual abilities, acquire certain values, and master specific skills. The underlying assumption is that students retain content as they continue through the curriculum. As the material becomes more complex, students interpret content through new situations to augment their knowledge.

A number of units or courses and their objectives or outcomes in turn become the components of the program. Objectives or outcomes for lessons, units, and courses build successively on one another to create program outcomes. Concurrent to building the objectives or outcomes is selecting the types of assessment that will make the objectives or outcomes measurable and connect to state or national standards.

Integrating Assessment Modes

Specific assessment strategies and evaluation methods are outlined for the lesson plan. For the unit, course, or program, the context of assessment becomes broader. Using the assessment strategies and evaluation methods in lesson plans becomes the foundation of formative and summative forms of evaluation that apply to unit, course, and program evaluation.

Formative Assessment

Formative assessment is the continual assessment that takes place from day to day throughout a unit or course. This type of assessment focuses on what students have learned about the dance content presented in the unit. Formative assessment is informal or formal and guides the teacher in her teaching and development of curriculum.

Formative evaluation is applicable in most dance settings. In class, the teacher assesses students as they perform. Then the teacher writes notes immediately after class about what content was learned, what they will review at the next class meeting, and whether students are ready for new content. The teacher includes notes on specific students’ progress or problems. This assessment may be shared with the students in the class, or the teacher may keep the formative self-assessment in another notebook. Regardless, the teacher then incorporates these notes into subsequent lesson plans in the unit. During the unit, formal assessment must occur as a measurement of students’ progress.

College students discussing a project.

Summative Assessment

Summative assessment takes place at designated points during or at the end of the unit or course. This formal assessment may be in the form of performance tests, written assignments, oral or media presentations, group projects, and performances. Summative assessment is the collection of evaluative data from a series of assessments during a period or throughout an entire semester. The data are synthesized into a singular numerical or equivalent letter grade that reflects the student’s work and effort during the unit or course. Alternatively, if the teacher uses Evidence-Based Grading and Reporting (see chapter 10), the teacher assesses the student’s mastery of target areas of success and progress toward the level of proficiency needed to meet an established goal or standard.

To implement summative assessment plans when you write your dance curriculum, begin by looking at the unit plan you have developed and the calendar for the unit or course. Spread out the summative assessment testing and assignments throughout the unit or course. It is neither fair to students nor prudent to do all assessment at the end of the unit or term. When designating class time for testing, allocate time for personal feedback and student conferences. Both formative and summative assessment strategies work in tandem throughout the lessons of the unit to present a complete picture of students’ learning. Keeping in mind the importance of selecting appropriate objectives or outcomes and assessment tools for a unit, term, or an entire program, you are ready to begin the process of developing curriculum for a unit.