“Rich Tasks” defined

Facilitator of Professional Development course answers my question of “What is a rich task?”

“It’s a problem that has multiple entry points and has various levels of cognitive demands.  Every student can be successful on at least part of it.”

My translation:  A one-off, not generalizable, ill-posed, open-ended problem which can be answered in many ways.  Thought to gauge understanding, as opposed to traditional “only one right answer” problems that are viewed as helping only a few students–students who are viewed as “getting it” no matter what.

4 thoughts on ““Rich Tasks” defined

  1. “It’s a problem that has multiple entry points and has various levels of cognitive demands.  Every student can be successful on at least part of it.”

    This was how differentiated instruction was explained to me. Since they couldn’t actually differentiate instruction for many levels, they had to have one task where kids at different levels could get some little bit out of it. The task might be rich, but what individual kids got out of it was not. They even started calling it differentiated learning because the instruction was not differentiated and the onus rested on the kids and their parents. My wife and I had to do the actual differentiated instruction.

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  2. My translation: interesting tasks that are impossible to mark, precisely because there are so many ways to be correct. Therefore the students mostly don’t know if what they did was right or not. Many will, incorrectly, think they did well when they didn’t, and others will, incorrectly, think they did badly when they were good.

    But that’s OK, because the teachers love the individual checking of each answer over several hours each night.

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  3. Pingback: Count the Tropes, Dept. | traditional math

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