Formative Assessment Probes: “More A – More B” Ruleby: Page Keeley

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Early-formed preconceptions can be explained by one of the intuitive rules identified by Stavy and Tirosh (2000) called More A – More B. By starting with students’ preconceptions, revealed through the use of a formative assessment probe, teachers can scaffold inquiry-based experiences that will confront children with their misconceptions and guide them through a process of conceptual change.

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Reviews (7)
  • on Thu Oct 27, 2016 1:09 AM

The journal article “More A–More B” really cleared up some questions I had about the idea of formative assessment. This article did an amazing job at explaining what a probe is and giving examples of what and how probes work. I now feel more confident about implementing these ideas in my future classroom.

Allison Lowe
Allison Lowe

  • on Tue Oct 25, 2016 4:54 PM

The journal “More A–More B” Rule, is an article journal every new teacher should take the time to read. The tools throughout the article will help any teacher become a successful teacher. Examples of helpful tools discussed in the article include formative assessment tools. The article discusses why teachers should use formative assessments, how to do the assessments and the importance of the assessments.

Danielle Cushing  (Lone Tree, CO)
Danielle Cushing (Lone Tree, CO)

  • on Sat Oct 22, 2016 11:49 AM

I would recommend that any future teacher read this article. It starts out by explaining the importance of having a formative assessment throughout a lesson and then leads into an example of how to implement it. Assessment is crucial for learning because it allows teachers to see where their students are at and lets the students come to a realization of possible misbeliefs they may have. The article proves this with a floating log probe that will help discover students’ misconceptions and preconceptions of what floats or sinks. It stresses that the assessment should not just be used to find out what students know, but to also take what they know and improve their thinking and your own personal teaching skills.

Morgan Salmon  (Stillwater, OK)
Morgan Salmon (Stillwater, OK)

  • on Fri Oct 26, 2012 11:18 AM

“More A – More B is described in this article as ‘intuitive logical scheme children use to figure out these relationships.’ Students tend to think that large object float and small object sink when they are made of the same material. They use the scheme to form this misconception. The formative assessment probe called “Floating Logs” helps the teacher understand how their students think about sinking and floating objects. The author explains how this assessment can be used in the classroom and guides the educator through the process.

Adah  (San Antonio, TX)
Adah (San Antonio, TX)

  • on Thu Jan 05, 2012 8:18 PM

Assessing for learning can take place formally and informally. Done well, it causes students to think about their own learning. Keeley’s probes allow me as a teacher to discover student preconceptions as well as those they develop along the way. The key point in this article is that just knowing is not enough, I need to use the information gained to enhance teaching and learning. This probe, “More A – More B” Rule provides students with the opportunity to show what they know about floating and sinking, as well as density and buoyancy. An interesting point that is made is “Typically students will not abandon their strongly held misconceptions until they have accepted a new idea that provides a better explanation than their old one.” Within the article, Keeley provides an activity with a grape and watermelon that will cause elementary students to stop in their tracks. I have used this and several other Keeley probes with my middle school students with great success.

Sandy Gady  (Renton, WA)
Sandy Gady (Renton, WA)

  • on Mon May 16, 2011 8:52 AM

This is an excellent article to read as you’re planning to teach about floating and sinking. Younger children often have misconceptions about density from their previous childhood experiences with the more A—more B rule. (If I have more of A than B, then A is larger or heavier or holds more, etc., than B). The author relates several specific activities, including the floating logs probe (a formative assessment probe), that you can use with students to scaffold other inquiry-based experiences to confront students’ misconception (more A—more B) and lead to a conceptual change.

Kathy Sparrow  (Delray Beach, FL)
Kathy Sparrow (Delray Beach, FL)

  • on Thu Oct 27, 2016 8:02 AM

This is a good article to read if you are an elementary school teacher about to teach the concept of floating and sinking. It starts off with talking about the importance of formatively assessing your students in order to reveal their preconceptions about a topic- such as floating and sinking. Since students come into your classroom with previously learned and acquired ideas about floating and sinking, the P-E-O strategy is a good way to teach this kind of lesson. The strategy challenges students’ existing ideas, and pushes them to find new rules, or ideas for the concept they are learning about to replace their incorrect ideas. The strategy also helps them observe the phenomena so the students can explain why the inquiry experiment had results the way it did. The article finished with highlighting the fact that this formative assessment strategy is an assessment for learning and not of learning.

Becca Gartmann
Becca Gartmann

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