Solo Taxonomy: Developing Student Thinking
Introduction to the SOLO Taxonomy
"The SOLO taxonomy is a model that describes levels of increasing complexity in students’ thinking and understanding. It was proposed by academics Biggs and Collis (1982) after classifying student’s thinking across a range of ages and a range of subjects. As thinking progresses across the levels, students move from factual, knowledge-based thinking to conceptual and abstract thinking and understanding.
Lynn Erickson’s Structure of knowledge (2002) is often used to illustrate how concepts and knowledge interact to help students form a principal generalization (similar to the “central ideas” in programmes of inquiry in the Primary Years Programme (PYP)). The foundations of being able to form these principal generalizations (or to think conceptually and understand a PYP central idea) are based on acquiring “essential” knowledge that will interact with chosen key and related concepts.
The SOLO taxonomy supports Erickson’s “structure of knowledge” as it starts with students collecting ideas, facts or knowledge before progressing to more sophisticated and demanding levels of thinking where they are required to process the information to make connections, conceptualize and transfer their understanding."
Source: IB PYP Resources
SOLO Taxonomy's 5 Levels of Understanding
Prestructural: at this level, the learner is missing the point
Unistructural: a response based on a single point.
Multistructural: a response with multiple unrelated points.
Relational: points presented in a logically related answer.
Extended Abstract: demonstrating an abstract and deep understanding through unexpected extension.
Source: Introduction to the SOLO Taxonomy
SOLO Taxonomy Explained
Defining the Stages
Sample Solo Workshop 1
Solo Examples for Workshop
Sample Solo Workshop 2
Tools & Strategies to Support Students Using Solo Taxonomy
Check out this learning story, developed by Michael Hughes and a team of teachers at Seisen International School, which demonstrates how they used the structure of observed learning outcomes (SOLO) taxonomy to design learning progressions to develop students’ conceptual understanding across units of inquiry. At Seisen International School, teachers use the SOLO taxonomy to support students to progress from a shallow to a deeper understanding. The SOLO taxonomy is also used when constructing success criteria for specific tasks.
Videos Explaining How to Use Solo Maps(Click/Tap to view)
Source: HookED (Videos); Source: HookED (Rubrics)
SOLO Taxonomy Question Chain Example
This is an example of a SOLO Taxonomy Question Chain. A series of connected question that explores a subconcept.
Follow each row across and you will see each question using the language and verbs associated with the SOLO Taxonomy levels.
Here is some of the context for creating this set of questions:
Daily and seasonal changes in our environment affect everyday life ACSSU004
By the end of Kindergarten they suggest how the environment affects them and other living things.
Sub-concepts to Explore
Types of weather + causes, seasons and seasonal weather changes, the impact of weather on human behaviour, clothes that we choose to suit the weather, the impact of weather on animals, environmental patterns.
Solo Resources(Click/Tap to view)
SOLO Knowledge Rubrics
Solo Resources(Click/Tap to view)
SOLO Maps and Rubrics- HOT and HookED
SOLO Planning Template
SOLO Coded Learning Interventions