Volume 5, 2019
From Research to Learning
Andrew P. Mills
Letting Students Choose
Investigating the Menu Approach to Graded Work
Traditionally, students have no choice over which assignments they must submit to receive the grade they desire in a course. An alternative “menu approach” (developed by Maryellen Weimer in 2002) provides students with a list of possible assignments and lets them select which to submit. This approach is demonstrated to increase student engagement with course material, motivate students to engage in creative work, and allow students to choose assignments that allow them to best demonstrate their learning. Student reaction is mixed: some like the choice but others are stressed and overwhelmed by it. This may result from the increased responsibility they must shoulder under the Menu Approach. Some questions remain about the link between increased engagement and student learning, questions that may form the basis for future research on the Menu Approach.