Reading & Literacy

New Resource Highlights Exemplary Student Work

By Liana Loewus — May 18, 2015 1 min read
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Last week, I wrote about the value of studying student work for patterns of mistakes.

A new online resource offers a collection of student work meant to be studied for the opposite reason—to see what students should be striving for.

The collection, known as the Center for Student Work, was created in partnership by the Harvard Graduate School of Education and the nonprofit Expeditionary Learning, which supports project-based learning in schools. The groups are calling it the “largest online resource of exemplary student projects.”

Users can search through students’ projects and writing samples by grade level and subject, including language arts, mathematics, science, visual arts, and social studies. Each example shows the Common Core State Standards covered in the lesson.

The examples, not surprisingly, seem to be mostly from schools that have adopted the Expeditionary Learning approach (so beware the somewhat promotion-y feel of the site). Though there’s also a place for teachers “within and beyond the EL network” to submit their own student work.

It’s also worth noting that there’s a focus on aesthetic appeal among the work chosen—a characteristic not all educators will view as important. But Ron Berger, the chief academic officer at Expeditionary Learning, in an Edutopia piece describes exemplary work as “beautiful and accurate, representative of strong content knowledge and critical thinking skills.”

“When we finish school and enter the world of work, we are asked to create work of value—scientific reports, business plans, websites, books, architectural blueprints, graphic artwork, investment proposals, medical devices, and software applications,” he writes. “When will students develop the skills to do this kind of work if not in school?”

A version of this news article first appeared in the Curriculum Matters blog.