182: Six A’s Criteria for Designing Projects

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Original Source of 6A’s: Real Learning, Real Work by Adria Steinberg

 

Authenticity:
  • How will professionals solve this problem?
  • How is the project relevant to students’s lives?
  • What are authentic audiences for the project?
Academic Rigor:
  • What learning standards are addressed in the project?
  • What central concepts are scaffolded and assessed?
  • What habits of habit are scaffolded and assessed?
  • What is the central problem addressed by the project?
Applied Learning:
  • How will project products get students to apply new knowledge and skills to complex problems?
  • What workplace competencies will students practice in the project?
  • What self- and project management skills will students use to succeed in the project?
Active Exploration:
  • What field-based opportunities are integrated into the project?
  • What sources of information will students leverage in the project?
Adult Connections:
  • Will students get support from experts residing outside the classroom?
  • Will students get to work alongside experts at a field site during project?
  • Will outside experts convey real world standards for students’ project work?
Assessment Practices:
  • What are the criteria for measuring desired learning outcomes?
  • Are students involved in creating or reviewing project assessment criteria?
  • What self-assessment approaches will be used?
    • examples: journals, peer conferences, teacher-mentor conferences, rubrics, periodic progress checks
  • What types of work will students generate to demonstrate mastery of learning outcomes?
  • Does culminating presentation allow students to apply learned skills?

 

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The 6A’s criteria can be used to evaluate and  improve PBL project design.  Projects that meet the 6A’s criteria are engaging, rigorous, relevant, inquiry-based, inspiring and academically sound.  For more project design criteria, see this article: Backwards design template & standards.

 

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Preparation Steps
  • Use 6A’s reflection questions to create and refine design of projects
  • Research strategies and opportunities to enhance 6A’s strengths of projects and overcome or eliminate gaps of projects
Early Implementation Steps
  • Implement projects that satisfy 6A’s criteria
  • Use formative feedback to fine tune projects in progress and to coach students to improve their understandings and products
Advanced Implementation Steps
  • Use student feedback to improve manifestation of 6A’s criteria in projects
  • Develop design process routines and templates that make it easier to create projects and evaluate them using the 6A’s rubric
  • Develop community partnerships that will enhance Adult Connections in projects
  • Learn how to use and scaffold technology tools that will improve Active Exploration and Authenticity of projects

 

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