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According to the cognitive and constructivist assessment, it is essential to pay attention to the quality of learning and to the paths of thought indicated in essays.It is of importance that the student constructs a personal product, and does not repeat the discourses of the textbook or the teacher (Newmann 1992, 52-53).
Paper presented at the European Conference on Educational Research, Lahti, Finland 22-25 September 1999 Contact: Arja Virta University of Turku Department of Teacher Education in Turku Koskenniemenkatu 4 20014 Turku, Finland tel.
358 fax 358 email:[email protected] The object of the study is to investigate how essay-type answers indicate students thought processes and knowledge structures in upper secondary economics.
One can often see great inter-individual variations as to the level of abstraction of the content and to the extent to which the student is able to go beyond the topic and connect it to a broader context. Essay type categories and their correspondence to the SOLO taxonomy.
In the higher-level essays, economic phenomena were discussed analytically in the light of relevant information.
A typical mediocre answer consisted of a diverse content, lacking any attempt towards more profound treatment of the topic.
Thus the content was a kind of list of consequences. Reaalikoevastaukset oppilaiden tiedonrakenteiden ja tiedon laadun ilmentjin. Historian reaalikoevastausten teksti- ja tietorakenteet. [Text and Knowledge Structures in Realia Answers of History.] In: S.
Both tasks required understanding causal relations and abstract economic concepts. Major differences were revealed both in contents and in knowledge organisation.
In higher level essays economic phenomena were discussed analytically and they indicated understanding abstract concepts.
An essay answer is a multilayered construction, and for the teacher and researcher, it is a rich source of information of students knowledge and learning (cf. Examining essays can thus be compared to peeling onions.
On the one hand this assignment presupposes accurate information, on the other it challenges the student to elaborate on his or her thoughts, so the student has to be able to implement the store of information.