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What are concepts and topics?

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What are concepts and topics?

What are concepts and topics? 

Two different taxonomies are available in the alignment system:

  • A concept taxonomy (historically referred to as the Common Terms Catalogue, or CTC) contains concepts such as "Operations with Complex Numbers."
  • A topic taxonomy, called the AB Topic Taxonomy (ABTT) contains topics such as "Complex Numbers."

The chart below reveals similarities and differences between the two:

Concept Taxonomy AB Topic Taxonomy
Grade Level Dependency No, the concept taxonomy is not grade specific. That said, some concepts found within the taxonomy are obviously addressing skills or pieces of knowledge that are likely covered in certain grades in a standards document. Yes, the ABTT is organized into three grade bands: elementary, middle school, and high school.
Subject Organization Yes, this taxonomy is broken down by subject. concept taxonomies are available for Science, Social Studies, Mathematics, English Language Arts, The Arts, Health Education, Workplace Skills, Technology, and Foreign Language. Yes, this taxonomy is broken down by subject. ABTT is available for Science, Social Studies, Mathematics, and English Language Arts.
Course/Strand Organization Yes, this taxonomy is further broken down by course and/or strand. Yes, this taxonomy is further broken down by course and/or strand.
Level of Hierarchical Intricacy The hierarchical structure of the concept taxonomy and the concepts found within it are more specific and intricate than the ABTT.
Example:
English > Writing > Mechanics > Punctuation Rules > End Marks > Question Mark
The hierarchical structure of the ABTT and the topics found within it are broader and more all-encompassing than the concept taxonomy.
Example:
English > Elementary School > Mechanics and Usage > Punctuation

How do concepts and topics define standards?

The concepts and topics found in the taxonomies are based on the skills and pieces of knowledge covered in standards. As a result, we can connect a standard with both concepts and topics that define what a standard is covering.

Look at this standard:

"Count to 100 by ones and by tens."

The following concepts are applied to the standard:

  • Count by 10s
  • Counting to 100
  • Natural Numbers
  • Counting Forward
  • Counting

The following topic is applied to the standard:

  • Counting

You can see that the concepts and topics are covering the skills and pieces of knowledge covered in the standard. You can also see the differences between the two taxonomies. The concept taxonomy not only has more concepts available, but it has more specific concepts to define the standard. The topic does define the standard, but it is more general or broad.

What is a concept chain? Are there topic chains?

A Concept Chain (historically called a CTC chain) is a string of concepts that, when combined fully, defines and breaks down each part of a standard. When Certica captures new documents or updated standards, each standard is tagged with concept chains.

For example, look at the following standard:

"Determine the main idea of an informational text and explain how it is supported by key details; summarize the text."

Here are the concept chains associated with the above standard:

  • Main Idea and Supporting Details + Informational Texts: This chain defines the skill in the first part of the standard.
  • Summarizing Information + Informational Texts: This chain defines the skill in the second part of the standard.

Here are the following two topics associated with the standard:

  • Main Idea/Supporting Details
  • Summarize Information

How do concepts and topics define assets?

In the alignment system, you define an asset by applying concepts or topics that reflect the asset’s content. This action allows you to then match the content of the asset to appropriate standards. This matching occurs through the shared taxonomy between the asset and the standards.

For example, let us say we have an asset in which students are summarizing. By applying the concepts or topics mentioned in the above sections, you would then pull in standards like the one above.

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