Measuring Success: Anchoring Passion Projects with Academic Rigor

Flash and JavaScript are required for this feature.

Download the video from Internet Archive.

SARAH HANSEN: How do you measure success in projects like this?

ANJALI SASTRY: That's a great question because students who are following their passions really get into it. You give them enough freedom, they will have a good time. But part of our challenge as their teachers is to help make sure that we're embedding into their approach enough rigor, that we're looking at the data and the evidence, and that it's being linked to the content we're teaching here. So a passion project by itself may or may not be academic.

So there's a bit of tension there of us having to remind students of the need to keep making all of these connections. So I would really view success as when we're able to get the students to not only pull out, develop, polish a great new idea, but also to link it to what they've been learning here and test their ideas with a level of attention to the data-- even if it's qualitative-- that really we can all stand behind.

SARAH HANSEN: And how did you do that in these projects?

ANJALI SASTRY: So part of the requirement is to really make sure that if a student-- there's actually quite a lot of work in trying to unpack the logic, the thinking behind a new idea. And I would spend a lot of time trying to help figure out, where is it we need to drill down to backup this idea? Where is it that we use the literature and the research, where you're going to do desk research to shore up one leg of what you're doing?

And where is it that you're going to gather new information-- whether it's by observation, by interviews, by other methods-- that you can bring to bear? So I really was looking for both. Where's the link to other people's work to the research and the literature? Where's the link to something new that you've uncovered using methods that you were going to describe systematically?


Free Downloads



  • English-US (SRT)