Tony Sturgeon, my teaching partner for the past 14 years, introduced me to the Collegiate Learning Assessment.  First off an unpaid political diatribe.  Our country’s education system has become indifferent to what really should matter to our schools…creating students that are capable of creating jobs through four positive traits: (1) the ability to work with others, (2) creative problem solving, (3) the ability to write with thought and purpose, and (4) the ability to be responsible for a deadline. 

I am merging the CLA model found at with a SPICE unit about hunger in Africa.  The CLA model requires that the students make an informed argument based on sources of information given to the student, but more importantly, the students own thinking ability.  This is something like a DBQ, but it is cleaner process that better balances the information with the thinking.  An example of the requirement is fournd at  The grading rubric focuses heavily on evidence evaluation, synthesis of evidence, drawing conclusions and the argument itself.  Of course, this is so Bloom. 

The part that makes me like this is the dedication to thinking and problem solving.  I know my prompt will be geared around solving the problem of hunger in Africa based on an analysis on the disconnect between Africa’s resources (plentiful) and poverty (rampant).  One key is to offer a way for the students to extend the process through involvement; of course, trying to develop an involvement process that is not just collecting money. 

This process will be part of my first nine weeks Social Studies Workshop and will be expanded to include geography skills.