Conclusions drawn in Most Likely to Succeed, a documentary written and directed by Greg Whiteley and produced by TEDTalks founder Ted Dintersmith, won’t surprise students or the people paid to teach them. The model we use for the school day comes from nineteenth-century Germany, where schools turned education into something like an assembly line: English in one room, history in another, chemistry here, and biology down there. Such distinctions can be useful. They can also be arbitrary.
However, that’s old news. The more challenging conclusion drawn by the film is that we need to rethink the way we assess student progress. The last half of the film focuses on the idea because the 21st-century workplace depends on people working together in teams, education should assess the way students contribute to projects together rather than depending on quizzes, exams, and standardized tests where students work alone.
Consider examining those ideas below. Does the 21st-century workplace depend on teamwork? What happens to the way we grade when we focus on the results of group work rather than individuals? How might this improve some aspects of education? What could get lost if we adopted it?