Explore Strategies-Teaching Excellence & Educational Innovation - Carnegie Mellon University

Step 3: Explore Strategies

Explore potential strategies.

My students cheat on assignments and exams.

Many students are highly motivated by grades and might not see a relationship between learning and grades.

Some instructors think of the learning and grade orientation as a continuum—the more learning-oriented one is, the less grade-oriented. Instead, research shows that it’s best to conceptualize those orientations as two separate dimensions, so that one can be highly grade-oriented and also highly learning-oriented. The problem is when somebody is highly motivated by grades and very little or not motivated at all by learning. In this case the student is less likely to put effort into learning the material and more likely to try to take shortcuts to the desired grade.


Make the alignment between course objectives and assessments explicit to your students.

Make the alignment between course objectives and assessments explicit to your students.

Showing the alignment makes it clear to your students that learning is intimately connected to getting a good grade. In addition, clearly explain the standards for excellent work (e.g., using rubrics ) so that students understand how they can best direct their effort in the course to achieve the results they want.

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learning principles

  1. Students’ prior knowledge can help or hinder learning. MORE>
  2. How students organize knowledge influences how they learn and apply what they know. MORE>
  3. Students’ motivation determines, directs, and sustains what they do to learn. MORE>
  4. To develop mastery, students must acquire component skills, practice integrating them, and know when to apply what they have learned. MORE>
  5. Goal-directed practice coupled with targeted feedback enhances the quality of students’ learning. MORE>
  6. Students’ current level of development interacts with the social, emotional, and intellectual climate of the course to impact learning. MORE>
  7. To become self-directed learners, students must learn to monitor and adjust their approaches to learning. MORE>