For students to thrive and achieve at high levels, educators must embrace the content of the curriculum and the design of instruction. Both of these elements impact student attention, interest, motivation, and cognitive effort and must be considered in the design of assignments. Specifically, two key areas hold priority: choice and relevancy. Students must be given some level of autonomy and independence in their tasks, with rigor maintained across all options. And the tasks must be relevant by focusing on poignant topics, using real-world materials and experiences, and giving students the opportunity to make connections with their goals, interests, and values.
- Are there opportunities for my students to bring their own ideas, experiences, and opinions into the assignments I give them? Is so, when and how often?
- How do I bridge the known to the unknown for my students? Or how can assignments in my classroom offer students the opportunity to experience rigorous content — which may be unfamiliar or feel “foreign” — in a way that feels relevant for them?
- When and how do I give students choices in their assignments that support their autonomy?
Questions for Analysis
|Do students have choice in the assignment in one of the following areas: content, product, or process? Is rigor maintained across all options?||
|Is the task relevant? Does it focus on a poignant topic, use real-world materials, and/or give students the freedom to make connections to their experiences, goals, interests, and values?||