One of the areas of writing I teach is evaluation. Students learn that we make assessments based on quality, opposition, rankings or comparisons, and flexible evaluative criteria. This particular activity focuses on the evaluative element of quality. Ultimately, the goal is two-fold. Students will have the opportunity to learn about and evaluate their academic institution.
This exercise can be used as an individual activity or homework response. It can also be utilized as a group activity, which is the way I tend to apply it to my classroom.
If students work in groups they can experiment with strategy, delegation, and exploration.
The groups are provided with the assignment sheet that provides an introductory description and a list of criteria they may choose from for evaluation. I also allow them to provide their own criteria if they so choose.
Research & Exploration:
I give the groups 1 hour to explore the school and find out as much information about their respective criteria. At this point, groups can determine the best approach. Some groups prefer to divide and conquer while others collaborate and strategize first.
Each member of the group is required to provide a detailed summary of their chosen criteria.
Developing Research into Evaluative Claim:
When the groups reconvene, they must formulate an evaluative claim about their institution based on the criteria they have chosen.
As a class, we discuss each group’s particular criteria. This allows the various groups to see how varying perspectives can be achieved despite being part of the same institution. It also provides a window into how detailed evaluative claims are developed based on the strength of their criteria.
This particular activity works best in a two-hour class. The first hour or hour and a half should be dedicated to the exploration and evaluation process. The second hour or half hour can be designated for discussion. I am always trying to find activities that get students engaged. This exercise can be valuable for students to not only learn about evaluative measures but to also discover beneficial resources around their school that they might have overlooked.