Tangible Symbols Pre-Test

We’re going to go through how this form
is set up in detail so that you will have a clear understanding of the kinds of information you can learn about your
student from it. Our main goal in using this form is to document, rather than guess, the most appropriate
level of tangible symbol to use in beginning instruction with any student.
First you will notice that the pre-test is organized from the most conventional or abstract tangible symbol types at the
top to the most concrete at the bottom. Generic line drawing,
specific line drawings, photographs and so on. We usually test in this order beginning at the most abstract level we
think that particular learner is capable of responding to now. There’s no need to test 3-dimensional symbols if you know that the learner can recognize 2-dimensional
symbols. By the same token if the learner is not
successful at the level you choose to begin with you would progress to a more concrete level
until you identify and meaningful level of representation.
Remember, tangible symbol systems is all about
individuals. It’s not about what is easiest or most
convenient for you to use as symbols or where you would like the learner to be
two years from now. Within each level of representation
you will see 4 rows. The first 3 rows are for you to
record the 3 different referents or objects that you will ask to learner to
match to. These objects are selected from a preference probe
which has been discussed in a previous unit. We need to know whether the learner can
match more than just one single item also having more than one item of interest
helps to maintain the learner’s motivation. The fourth row labeled percent correct is used to summarize your data. Now let’s
look at the area labeled array of symbols. These columns are arranged from left to
right according to decreasing levels of challenge. The first set of three columns is the area to use if you are offering a
learner an array of three symbols one symbol that matches the referent
presented and two distractor symbols for the two
items that were not presented on this particular trial. If we look at
the group of small boxes across the top of the columns we see an arrangement of pluses and
minuses. The plus represents the three possible placements of
the matching symbol in the array for example data appearing
in the first column would involve a trial using a three
symbol array where the matching symbol appeared to the learners left. Data in the second
column would involve a three symbol array where the matching
symbol appeared in the middle and data in the third column would
involve a three symbol array where the matching symbol appeared on
the learners right. Noting symbol position in this manner allows us to determine whether the
learner has a position bias that is interfering with our ability to
gather information about the level of symbol he understands. the next two columns are where we would
record data if we decided to move down a step to a two symbol array once again the
plus and minus in the two columns show the possible placements of the
matching and the distractor symbol in the array. Finally, the last column
provides a place for recording a trial in which only one symbol is presented. Presenting
the learner with different array sizes allows us to determine how many symbols
up to three the learner is capable of scanning and
discriminating between we will usually begin our testing by
presenting a preferred item to the learner textually or visually. With that item
present we now present in an array of symbols up to three and the individual is asked to somehow indicate the symbol that
corresponds to the item presented. If the learner indicates the correct
symbol in some way we would put a plus in the appropriate
box on the form. In this example we presented the doll
and a three symbol array of photographs with the matching symbol in the middle
and the learner correctly indicated it. If the learner didn’t indicate the
matching symbol we would place a minus in the
appropriate box on form. In this example we presented the
car in a two symbol array of partial objects
with the matching symbol on the learners right but he chose the wrong symbol. The item
that is presented will change frequently and the position of the corresponding
symbol in the array will also change with each trial is a learner indicates the matching
symbol he’s given that item am briefly if he doesn’t indicate the matching
symbol then you would show him the correct one and move on to the next trial. That’s how we usually do it, but if that
approach isn’t working we may switch things
around slightly. For instance we might first present a symbol and then
an array of up to three preferred objects and ask the learner to indicate
the corresponding object or we might present an array of
the three preferred items and allow the learner to choose
the item he wants at that very moment and then we would
ask him to select the matching symbol from an array of symbols. Once in a great
while we may start with a one symbol array after we have shown a preferred object
to the learner. Then we will encourage the learner to somehow indicate that one
symbol and when he does we reinforce it. As he
begins to understand what he has to do with the symbols then we will increase the array size.

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