The Six A's of
Designing Projects

Excerpted from
Adria Steinberg, Real Learning, Real Work,
Routledge, New York, 1997
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bullet.gif (921 bytes) Authenticity
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Academic Rigor
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Applied Learning
bullet.gif (921 bytes) Active Exploration
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Adult Relationships
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  bullet.gif (921 bytes) Does the project emanate from a problem that has meaning to the student?

bullet.gif (921 bytes) Is it a problem or question that might actually be tackled by an adult at work or in the community?

bullet.gif (921 bytes) Do students create or produce something that has personal and/or social value, beyond the school setting?

Academic Rigor

  bullet.gif (921 bytes)  Does the project lead students to acquire and apply knowledge central to one or more discipline or content areas?

bullet.gif (921 bytes) Does it challenge students to use methods of inquiry central to one or more disciplines? (e.g., to think like a scientist)

bullet.gif (921 bytes) Do students develop higher order thinking skills and habits of mind? (e.g., searching for evidence, taking different perspectives)? 

Applied Learning

  bullet.gif (921 bytes)  Does the learning take place in the context of a semi-structured problem, grounded in life and work in the world beyond school?

bullet.gif (921 bytes) Does the project lead students to acquire and use competencies expected in high performance work organizations (e.g., teamwork, appropriate use of technology, problem solving and communication)?

bullet.gif (921 bytes) Does the work require students to develop organizational and self-management skills?

Active Exploration

  bullet.gif (921 bytes) Do students spend significant amounts of time doing field-based work?

bullet.gif (921 bytes) Does the project require students to engage in real investigations, using a variety of methods, media, and sources?

bullet.gif (921 bytes) Are students expected to communicate what they are learning through presentation and/or performance? 

Adult Relationships

  bullet.gif (921 bytes) Do students meet and observe adults with relevant expertise and experience?

bullet.gif (921 bytes) Do students have an opportunity to work closely with at least one adult?

bullet.gif (921 bytes) Do adults collaborate on the design and assessment of student work?


  bullet.gif (921 bytes) Do students reflect regularly on their learning using clear project criteria that they have helped to set?

bullet.gif (921 bytes) Do adults from outside the classroom help students develop a sense of real world standards for this type of work?

bullet.gif (921 bytes) Will there be opportunities for regular assessment of student work through a range of methods, including exhibitions and portfolios.