"The business of schools is to design, create, and invent high-quality, intellectually demanding schoolwork that students find engaging."
- Dr. Phillip C. Schlechty
This statement is at the center of Fife's efforts to improve student achievement. Our job is to create work that students find engaging. This is the idea behind "Working on the Work"(WOW)... creating quality work that encourages students to do more that merely comply with what is being asked of them, but engages them.
The Schlechty Center has developed ten characteristics used to identify engaging schoolwork. Fife's teachers attempt to incorporate as many of these design qualities into the work given to students as possible. The design qualities are:
- Content and Substance: Educators, in collaboration with the community, identify the essential learnings and skills that students must master.
- Organization of Knowledge: Content is organized so that access to the material is clear and relatively easy for all students.
- Product Focus: Engaging work almost always focuses on a product or performance of value to students.
- Clear and Compelling Product Standards: The Standards for assessing the products or the performances are clear and important to students.
- Protection from Adverse Consequences for Initial Failures: Students receive feedback on their work and have opportunities to reach the Standard throughout the process.
- Affirmation of Performance: Student products are observed by persons other than the teacher.
- Affiliation: The design of the work requires cooperative action among students and adults.
- Novelty and Variety: The work is varied in methods and format so that students use a variety of skills, media, and modes of analysis.
- Choice: Students are provided with choice in the ways of doing the work and the methods of presentation.
- Authenticity: The work has significance and is related to consequences in the present lives of students.
Click on the refrigerator to see examples of student work!