STAGE 1- Involve students in defining the “The Next Best Thing Assignment”
criteria that will be used to judge their
performance. Involving students in Expectation of Student/Designers:
determining the evaluation criteria initiates a
negotiation. Neither imposing school goals Students in groups of 3 or 4 are to draft a
nor acquiescing to student preferences is proposal for a concept or idea that will
likely to be as successful as creating a “make life better”
shared set that students perceive to be
meaningful. Workplace studies, for • Is it technology based?
example, indicate that involving employees • Does it make you safer?
in making decisions about their work • Does it entertain?
increases satisfaction and goal commitment. • Is “it” an “it”?
In addition to increasing student • What does it cost?
commitment to instructional goals, • Is it an improvement on
negotiating intentions enables teachers to something or of something?
help students set goals that are specific,
• Does it have to be built?
immediate, and moderately difficult,
• Is it alive?
characteristics that contribute to greater
effort. It also provides an opportunity to
How will it make life better
influence students' orientations toward
What are some potential consequences of
learning, a long term guidance effort, that is
creating or modify this "thing" or "creature"
particularly timely in cooperative learning
contexts since students sometimes adopt
orientations in group learning (such as
Expectation of Evaluators of concept:
letting someone else do all the work) that
Evaluators (teachers and students) must
decide which criteria are to be measured and
develop language and method to do so.
STAGE 2- Teach students how to apply the Using a Checklist or a Rubric developed
criteria to their own work. If students have through collaboration between teacher and
been involved in a negotiation in Stage 1, students. These tools are to be used first to
the criteria that result will be an integrated inform students' actions, processes, products
set of personal and school goals. Since the both in progress and final as well as
goals are not entirely their own, students functioning as the standard against which
need to see examples of what they mean in the final product is measured.
practice. These models or examples help
students understand specifically what the
criteria mean to them. Teacher modeling is
very important, as is providing many Teachers are to model their approach to an
numerous examples of what particular activity with a standard firmly in mind and
categories mean, using language that to show students how the standard informed
connects criteria to evidence in the their actions, process and product creation.
STAGE 3- Give students feedback on
their self-evaluations. Students' initial
comprehension of the criteria and how
to apply them are likely to be imperfect.
Teachers need to help students
recalibrate their understanding by
arranging for students to receive
feedback (from the teacher, peers, and
themselves) on their attempts to
implement the criteria. Having different
sources (e.g., peers and teacher)
provide data for comparison helps
students develop accurate self-
evaluations. Discussion regarding
differences in data can prove most
STAGE 4- Help students develop
productive goals and action plans. The
most difficult part of teaching students
how to evaluate their work consists of
designing ways to provide support for
students as they use self-evaluative
data to set new goals and levels of
effort. Without teacher help, students
may be uncertain whether they have
attained their goals. Teachers can also
help students connect particular levels
of achievement to the learning
strategies they adopted and the effort
they expended. Finally, teachers can
help students develop viable action
plans in which feasible goals are
operationalized as a set of specific