What is it?
SOLO taxonomy stands for Structure of Observed Learning Outcomes, and is a model for students to clearly see how their understanding builds.
This image depicts how the stages of understanding are visualised. The circle represents the prestructural level of understanding – the student has no understanding of the concept.
The single rectangle shows understanding at the unistructural level, where students may have surface understanding of a single idea – for example, they can give one reason for World War 1 beginning (this is me trying not to just use Science examples!). At this point, student understanding is disconnected and limited.
At the multistuctural level (3 rectangles), several aspects of the task or question are known but their relationships to each other and the whole are missed.
Students then move onto the relational level, where their individual pieces of understanding are linked and integrated, so they have a deeper and more coherent understanding of the topic as a whole.
Finally, the last diagram is the extended abstract level, where the new understanding can be re-thought and applied to a different situation, or used in a different way.
Three ideas of how you could use it in class
In ICT, Lisa has developed a booklet for the Year 9s to work on a project over several weeks. Here is the SOLO template that students have been given to help them move through the homework task to produce an impressive piece of work.
Class example 1:
An example of where I have used SOLO at A-level is to begin with a quick quiz to establish current understanding of Parkinson’s Disease prior to any teaching. Depending on their success, students were directed to begin at a certain station in the room. At each area were information packs labelled with the relevant SOLO image. This was the slide I displayed on the board to show what the diagrams meant, so the students could see how their understanding was being developed.
I made sure that the information in the packs helped them to move forward in their understanding, without necessarily giving them the answer. For example, I used mostly images and diagrams that they had to interpret to move forward. This also ensured that students were collaborating. Students had to fill out their thoughts using the standard handout shown here:
Class example 2:
Another way to use SOLO in class is through using hexagons:
Students record different ideas about a topic onto each hexagon.
Unistructural – single hexagon.
Multistructural – several separate hexagons.
Relational – connected hexagons (explain the cause for connecting two edges).
Extended abstract – tessellated hexagons that form a mosaic / link in unusual shapes (eg students can generalise about the points where three hexagons meet).
Where can you go to get more support?
Come and ask me, Lisa, Martin, Claire D, Mike or Chris for ideas or further explanation.
Also, have a look here to get you started http://pamhook.com/solo-taxonomy/ and on the T-drive at 2.Teaching and Learning / Teaching and Learning / BLTS / SOLO Taxonomy