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9 Pitfalls to Check for When Reviewing and Designing an LDC Task

April 24th, 2017

Creating an LDC Task and designing your work backward can be tricky, especially for those new to LDC. Here are some common pitfalls to check for when reviewing and designing LDC Tasks:

1. Task Not Standards-Driven

Is the task missing a balanced cluster of 2–4 focus standards addressing reading, writing, and content? Or is the task misaligned to the demands of the identified focus standards?

2. Grand Thematic or Flawed Question

Does the task prompt include an optional question that is overly broad—like an "essential" question—that students will not directly answer in their final product? Does the optional question in any way contradict or confuse the purpose of the rest of the prompt?

3. Template and Task Mismatch
Is there a misalignment between the author's apparent purpose and the selected task template's writing mode and/or cognitive demand that is likely to lead to lead to problematic student responses?

4. Problematic Text/s
Are the selected texts either too lengthy or too many in number, too short or too few in number, or otherwise not appropriate given the grade-level, discipline, and/or purpose of the task?

5. Task Answerable without the Text/s
Are the selected texts or the way in which the task prompt is constructed likely to lead students to respond in a way that makes little or no meaningful use of the texts?

6. Task Does Not Require Higher Order Thinking
Do the texts "answer" the prompt and students need only summarize, paraphrase, or otherwise reproduce information from the texts without applying literacy skills at DOK levels 3 and 4 (such as those skills described in CCSS Reading Standards 2–9)?    

7. Built-In Bias
Is the task prompt constructed in such a way that will likely result in most or all students providing a rigid, predetermined response, leaving little or no room for a variety of rigorous, nuanced student responses? Do the prompt wording, content, and/or provided texts make it difficult or unlikely for students to successfully argue multiple sides of an argument?

8. Lack of Centrality to the Discipline
Are the task prompt and/or the texts significantly misaligned to the core literacy and/or content demands of the selected discipline?

9. Content Too Broad or Narrow for Instructional Time of 1–3 Weeks
Is the specific topic or selected content of the task prompt framed either too broadly or narrowly for a meaningful and rigorous learning experience within 1–3 weeks of instructional time as indicated in pacing?


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