Modern Woods Classroom Enviroment

Team-Based Challenges – The Key Elements

At the Fall 2019 P-20 Network Meeting, participants worked together to define the critical elements of a Team-Based Challenge as well as ideas for Team-Based Challenges that can be implemented with partners in our communities within each of the Career Pathways. Following the P-20 Network Meeting, we took the ideas from the meeting to draft a document that outlines the best practice “Elements of a Career Pathway Endorsement Team-Based Challenge.”

A Career Pathway Endorsement Team-Based Challenge is a self-contained exercise that may vary in length and structure ranging from an individual activity to an instructional unit. 

A Team-Based Challenge should require students to utilize and demonstrate competency with work-based knowledge and skills as they work to solve an authentic work-based problem as members of a collaborative team. 

Career Pathway Endorsement Team-Based Challenges should include the following features: 

  • Challenges seek solutions to authentic problems that are identified from and/or in collaboration with industry partners, are regionally relevant and globally connected, and result in a real solution that can be applied and implemented in the “real world”. As part of or in addition to the solution/product, students must complete a presentation of their solution and its application to an authentic audience. 
  • Students work in collaborative groups to solve the problem. 
  • Students are supported by an expert mentor from the field. If possible, experts should also be present for student presentations at the culmination of the Team-Based Challenge. 
  • Challenges require students to demonstrate key technical, employability, and entrepreneurial competencies. Successful demonstration of the competencies through a Team-Based Challenge is typically represented through a rubric and/or another form of authentic assessment. 

Additionally, we are working with faculty and staff at Northern Illinois University as well as with teachers and administrators in school districts to help develop and document Team-Based Challenges. We look forward to sharing those stories and resources to help with the creation of Team-Based Challenges over the coming weeks and months. In the meantime, if you are interested in developing Team-Based Challenges in order to help further learning toward the Career Pathways in your organization as well as to develop capacity with authentic, problem-based learning, please contact the Illinois P-20 Network, and we will be happy to set-up time for support.


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