Worthy and self-sustaining work

Build up intellectual freedom.

Here are ten qualities that make a lesson “worthy and self-sustaining.” Check out more on this idea on Grant Wiggins’s blog (he’s the author of Assessment by Design

  1. Rich, challenging, and meaningful (authentic) problems/issues/tasks that require core content
  2. No single, obvious, or superficial answer or solution path – yet, the task is doable
  3. Clear performance goals and criteria for judging progress and knowing when the work is “done to standard” (It helps to have a real audience)
  4. Access to appropriate and varied resources that open up diverse approaches
  5. Familiar routines/protocols that help students organize the process (with varying degrees of transfer expected, via scaffolding/explicitness provided by the teacher; depending upon level of student skill and autonomy)
  6. Sufficient choice/personalization to enable students to play to strengths/interests
  7. Self-assessment and self-adjustment guides via varied models and rubrics (to clarify goals while undercutting mere mimicry)
  8. Benchmarks, checkpoints and other formal and informal formative assessments, to ensure students are helped to be on course and on time
  9. Explicit norms of mutual respect and personal responsibility, preferably built with student input and sign-off
  10. Teacher respect for reasonable non-disruptive student “down time.”

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