Collaboration in the classroom: pooled responses, individual assessments!

Here’s the conundrum:

You’ve composed a prompt for an assessment. It has many possible answers – and many ways to succeed.

That’s good!

But some students, sitting at home, alone, will have trouble formulating the best response.

Take this quick quiz to see if you should use Pooled Responses, Individual Assessments

1. Do you encourage team-work?

2. Do you feel that the best ideas are piggybacked on other good ideas?

3. Can you use a computer?

If you answered YES to all three, then you should use Pooled Responses, Individual Assessments:

1. Ask the prompt in class.

2. Have students individually write 4 answers / solutions to the prompt.

3. Students partner up and together, chose from their (now) 8 responses…their agreed-upon top-three.

4. Students write these 3 solutions / responses in a grid in a Google Doc, accessible to the class.

5.  At home, students will be able to review a dozen or more solutions. Rather than create ex-nihilo, they can modify and build a complete response based on the best of the best.


1. Students must quote the ideas’ authors by name (and are permitted a note card if it’s an in-class essay).

2. Students may quote the idea verbatim, but must put it in quotes.

3. Students will still have to 1) explain the idea in his/her own words, 2) justify the idea with proof texts and additional support.

4. You could even require students to pull at least one idea from his/her own partner session, and decide whether to support or critique a classmates.