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How is Global Issues evaluated?

Trained evaluators use our Global Issues rubric-based assessment to score students on each of the six steps within a submitted booklet. See a sample scoresheet at the bottom of this article. Evaluators provide feedback and scores for each step. The scores from evaluators determine the top teams and individuals in a competition. 

International Conference
At our world finals, top scoring teams advance to additional rounds of evaluation to determine champions. Each evaluator uses a booklet’s total points to determine a booklet’s rank within the submissions they are scoring. Points and rankings are converted to create a composite score, which is used to identify the top teams and individuals, by division, for advancement to the final round of evaluations. In the final round, a team of three evaluators examine all of the advancing booklets using a process called paired comparison analysis. This process allows booklets to be compared, step by step, in order to determine which submission is strongest overall.

Scoring breakdown

Global Issues team competitors present more challenges and solutions than individual writers. This is reflected in the scoresheets and total points for each. Below is a breakdown of how many points are tied to each step. Percentages have been rounded and may not add to 100%.

Teams

PointsPercentages
Step 1Identifying challenges8421%
Step 2Select an underlying problem8421%
Step 3Produce solution ideas8421%
Step 4Generate and select criteria4010%
Step 5Apply criteria205%
Step 6Action plan9523%
Total407100%

Individuals

PointsPercentages
Step 1Identifying challenges5215%
Step 2Select an underlying problem8424%
Step 3Produce solution ideas5215%
Step 4Generate and select criteria4012%
Step 5Apply criteria206%
Step 6Action plan9528%
Total343100%

Rubric evaluation

Certified evaluators analyze the students’ work through our 6-step problem-solving process, from their step one challenges to their step six action plan, providing feedback through authentic assessment.

Our rubric is a scoring guide that indicates the expectations for exemplary writing submissions and is used to evaluate the quality of students’ work. The rubric is presented as tables for each step, with criteria or descriptions of quality. Our scoresheet measures many aspects of each step of the problem-solving process. 

Since there is no single “right” answer, our evaluators employ a variety of strategies to review student work. We take extra care to provide specific, detailed feedback in each evaluation so that students and their coaches can use their feedback to develop and improve their skills. Students receive quantitative and qualitative feedback in their scores as well as qualitative feedback in comments from their evaluators. 

While authentic assessment of student learning always comes first, we also depend on our uniform evaluation guidelines to provide a fair, consistent, and reliable method for competition scoring. All evaluators must be trained and certified before evaluating student work.

Fundamental concepts

When assessing student submissions, evaluators reward students for showcasing their skills in research, creativity, and futuristic thinking.  These fundamental concepts are scored multiple times.

Research applied

Evaluators measure the application of research into student ideas throughout the submission. Evaluators reward students for integrating vocabulary, knowledge of current issues and trends, and major concepts of the topic into their work. A strong submission will integrate ideas and concepts from the topic research in meaningful ways.

Creative strength

Evaluators measure if students have skillfully used productive, creative, and innovative thinking. A strong submission will integrate innovative and insightful ideas that go beyond the ordinary. Evaluators will reward students whose Ideas show that they are thinking outside of the obvious and commonplace.

Futuristic thinking

Evaluators measure the student’s ability to utilize knowledge of future trends, technologies, and predictions in their ideas. Futuristic writing will show that students have thought beyond how we may react to the concerns in the future scene now, and show how the issues may operate differently in the future. A strong submission will include ideas that integrate purposeful, futuristic concepts, showing how ideas might impact the future.

Scoring

In each step scored for fundamental concepts, each concept is worth five points. These points are included in the overall score for each step. This adds up to 45 points over the entire booklet.

  • Team: 45 points (11%)
  • Individual: 45 points (13%)

Step 1 – Identifying challenges

Global Issues Problem Solving Process Step 1

Evaluators assess each challenge students identify for fluency first. Then evaluators assess each fluent challenge for flexibility, clarity and insight, and originality. Evaluators also consider the entire step for our fundamental concepts related to research, creativity, and futuristic thinking.

Step 1 scoring
Team: 84 points (21%)
Individual: 52 points (15%)

Fluency

Evaluators consider whether or not each challenge is relevant to the presented future scene to assess fluency. A relevant challenge is one that has a possibility of existing within the context of the future scene situation.

Flexibility

Evaluators consider each relevant challenge and assign each a category when assessing flexibility in challenges. A highly flexible student submission will contain challenges that address ten or more categories.

Clarity + insight

Evaluators consider the quality of thinking presented in the relevant challenges when assessing clarity and insight. A challenge with clarity will demonstrate effective communication and cause effect reasoning. If a challenge earns a clarity mark, evaluators determine whether students have demonstrated a meaningful, in-depth understanding of potential implications emerging from the future scene.

Originality

Evaluators determine whether a challenge is highly creative, futuristic, or unique, or one that demonstrates a breakthrough in thinking. Only two percent of challenge ideas receive this distinction in most competitions.

Fundamental concepts

Evaluators consider the student work in this step as a whole when assessing three fundamental concepts: research, creativity, and futuristic thinking. These are measured again when students present their solution ideas, and again for the action plan.

Step 2 – Select an underlying problem

Global Issues Problem Solving Process Step 2

The underlying problem is written in a prescribed structure including a condition phrase, a key verb phrase, a purpose, and parameters from the future scene. Evaluators assess the underlying problem statement for structure, significance, scope, and clarity.

Step 2 scoring
Team: 84 points (21%)
Individual: 84 points (24%)
In an excellent underlying problem, students will narrow the focus, address a significant issue from the future scene through their chosen action goal, and identify a positive outcome of accomplishing their goal.

Condition phrase

Evaluators determine whether students have provided a rationale for choosing the issue for their underlying problem when assessing the condition phrase. A condition phrase shows the students’ reasoning behind choosing their goal and purpose. An excellent condition phrase will contain accurate information from the future scene and logically establish the underlying problem.

Key verb phrase

Evaluators determine if students have provided a single action verb that identifies the goal of the forthcoming solutions when assessing the key verb phrase. After writing the condition phrase, students use a stem like “how might we” or “in what ways might we” to lead into their chosen action goal. A correctly structured underlying problem will include only one action verb in the key verb phrase.

Purpose

Evaluators determine if students have provided a reason why pursuing their stated action goal is important when assessing the purpose structure. Students often will start their purpose statement with the words “so that” or “in order to”. A well structured underlying problem will include a purpose that is present, singular, and logically related to the action goal in the key verb phrase.

Future scene parameters

Evaluators check that students have integrated the parameters of the future scene into their selected underlying problem. The parameters are time, topic, and place.

Significance

Evaluators measure the importance of the issue as it relates to the future scene and topic when assessing significance. An underlying problem with high significance will identify an important issue that is meaningfully connected to the topic and related to the charge of the future scene.

Scope

Evaluators measure the manageability and focus of the underlying problem when assessing scope. A strong underlying problem will identify an aspect of the future scene to address that is both small enough to be manageable and sizable enough to be impactful.

Clarity

Evaluators measure the ability of the students to effectively communicate the intent of the underlying problem when assessing clarity. A strong underlying problem will clearly define the action and communicate its importance effectively and logically.

Critical errors
When students write their underlying problem, they are creating a roadmap for the rest of the problem-solving process. Mistakes made in this step can greatly impact the success of the student submission. Evaluators must consider the underlying problem as a whole and determine if students have any critical errors. An underlying problem will be marked with a critical error if it is missing a key verb phrase, missing a purpose, does not make a substantive connection to the topic and future scene, negates or reverses the future scene, or one in which the purpose repeats the key verb phrase.

Step 3 – Produce solution ideas

Global Issues Problem Solving Process Step 3

Evaluators assess each solution for fluency. Then evaluators assess each fluent solution idea for flexibility, elaboration and clarity, and originality. Evaluators also consider the entire step for our fundamental concepts related to research, creativity, and futuristic thinking.

Step 3 scoring
Team: 84 points (21%)
Individual: 52 points (15%)

Fluency

Evaluators consider whether or not each solution is relevant to the chosen underlying problem to assess fluency. A relevant solution is one that addresses the key verb phrase and clearly supports the purpose of the underlying problem, implicitly or explicitly.

Flexibility

Evaluators consider each relevant solution idea and assign each a category when assessing flexibility. A highly flexible student submission will contain solutions that incorporate ten or more categories.

Elaboration + clarity

Evaluators consider the development of the idea presented in the relevant solutions when assessing elaboration and clarity. An elaborated solution will include the elements of who, how, and why in the action idea. If a solution earns an elaboration mark, evaluators determine whether students have effectively communicated the solution idea when assessing clarity. A well-written solution idea will present the action idea and the elaborated details in concise, clear, and easy to understand writing.

Originality

Evaluators determine whether a solution is highly creative, futuristic, or unique, or one that demonstrates a breakthrough in thinking. Only 2 percent of solution ideas receive this distinction in most competitions.

Fundamental concepts

Evaluators consider the student work in this step as a whole when assessing three fundamental concepts: research, creativity, and futuristic thinking. These are measured again when students present their action plan.

Step 4 – Generate and select criteria

Global Issues Problem Solving Process Step 4

Evaluators determine if criteria are correctly written and the degree to which the criteria are applicable to the students’ underlying problem. Excellent criteria will address aspects of the solution ideas that will be very important in determining which one will best accomplish the goals of the underlying problem.

Step 4 scoring
Team: 40 points (10%)
Individual: 40 points (12%)

Correctly written

Evaluators determine if students have written criteria in the correct structure. Each criterion must be recognizable as a question, indicate a desired outcome, demonstrate a measure of degree using a superlative, and focus on a single standard.

Applicability

Evaluators then measure the usefulness of a criterion as it applies to the chosen underlying problem. A targeted criterion will be specific to the underlying problem and helpful in determining the best solution to develop into an action plan.

Step 5 – Apply criteria

Global Issues Problem Solving Process Step 5

Evaluators determine if students have applied their criteria correctly to their chosen solutions in an evaluation matrix.

Step 5 scoring
Team: 20 points (5%)
Individual: 20 points (6%)

Determination of best solution

Evaluators determine if students have completed the evaluation matrix accurately when assessing this step. Students who score top points in this step accurately record numerical rankings, total their scores correctly, and use their top ranked solution to create their action plan in the next step.

Step 6 – Develop an Action Plan

Global Issues Problem Solving Process Step 6

Evaluators consider seven criteria when assessing the action plan: discussion of criteria, completeness, clarity, relationship to the underlying problem, impact on the future scene, humaneness, and holistically for fundamental concepts.

Step 6 scoring
Team: 95 points (23%)
Individual: 95 points (28%)

Discussion of criteria

Evaluators measure the degree to which the criteria chosen in step four have been addressed in the action plan. An excellent action plan will address criteria in a convincing manner in the plan details.

Completeness

Evaluators consider how students have elaborated their initial solution into a developed action plan when assessing completeness. A strong action plan will present an organized, comprehensive explanation of the process needed to implement the action plan.

Clarity

Evaluators determine whether students clearly and concisely communicate their ideas in the action plan. A well-written action plan avoids unnecessary wordiness, and details the action plan clearly.

Relationship to underlying problem

Evaluators assess the extent to which the action plan solves the underlying problem. A strong action plan will effectively respond to the key verb phrase and purpose that students chose in step two.

Impact on future scene

Evaluators measure the positive impact of the action plan on the future scene situation. An excellent action plan will clearly demonstrate a strong, positive impact on the issues presented in the future scene.

Humaneness

Evaluators consider the productive and positive potential of the action plan when assessing humaneness. A strong action plan will be both positive and constructive.

Fundamental concepts

Evaluators consider the student work in this step as a whole when assessing three fundamental concepts: research, creativity, and futuristic thinking.

Become an Evaluator

We welcome anyone in our global community to participate in our Global Issues evaluator certification process. Many alumni choose to stay connected and give back to the program as evaluators. It’s common for experienced coaches and senior division students to evaluate as well. All evaluators must complete training and certify in each program option they wish to evaluate. Contact your local affiliate for more information on becoming an evaluator. All those not connected to a local affiliate may work with our Open affiliate and/or be added to our pool of evaluators available to support needs across our global network. After successfully evaluating at the affiliate level, you may be nominated to certify as an international evaluator with an opportunity to evaluate our annual world finals competition held at our International Conference.

Attachments – Scoresheets

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April Michele

April Michele Bio

Executive Director

A seasoned educator, April Michele has served as the Executive Director since 2018 and been with Future Problem Solving more than a decade. Her background in advanced curriculum strategies and highly engaging learning techniques translates well in the development of materials, publications, training, and marketing for the organization and its global network. April’s expertise includes pedagogy and strategies for critical and creative thinking and providing quality educational services for students and adults worldwide.

Prior to joining Future Problem Solving, April taught elementary and middle grades, spending most of her classroom career in Gifted Education. She earned the National Board Certification (NBPTS) as a Middle Childhood/Generalist and later served as a National Board Assessor for the certification of others. She was trained and applied the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme (MYP) in Humanities, which helped widen the educational scope and boundaries beyond the U.S. In addition, April facilitated the Theory and Development of Creativity course for state level certification of teachers. She has also collaborated on a variety of special projects through the Department of Education.

A graduate of the University of Central Florida with a bachelor’s in Elementary Education and the University of South Florida with a master’s in Gifted Education, April’s passion is providing a challenging curriculum for 21st century students so they are equipped with the problem solving and ethical leadership skills they need to thrive in the future. As a board member in her local Rotary Club, she facilitates problem solving in leadership at the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA). She is also a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) from the Project Management Institute and earned her certificate in Nonprofit Management from the Edyth Bush Institute at Rollins College.