Getting Started with Rank & Reason

Rank & Reason

Why Use Rank & Reason in Your Classroom?

Rank & Reason is a discussion tool that can be used with students to focus academic discussion and bring it to a more challenging level. It is best used with a partner, but can be quite successful when used individually in preparation for discussion, as well as in a group.

With this tool, students will practice the critical thinking skills of analysis, reasoning and justification, and communication as they work through a Rank and Reason prompt.  From simple prompts asking about group skills to more complex analysis of an author’s intent, students rank importance and significance, defend their ideas, compare their rankings with other students, and communicate their final thoughts.

Rank & Reason’s are available for ELA, Math, Science, and Social Studies in grades K-12. Check them out!

How does Rank & Reason work?

A simple example or way to start with Rank & Reason is to use one that is behavior based such as our Group Skills lesson. Students begin by dragging and dropping (ranking).

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Next, students provide a justification or reasoning for their ranking:

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Finally, students have an opportunity to compare their thinking with their peers:

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Tips for Comparing Rank & Reason Responses

Once Rank & Reason participants have ranked and provided reasoning for items in the Rank & Reason, their responses can be viewed by using the compare feature. This feature allows participants to visually compare their responses with those of another participant. Colored lines drawn between both participants’ ranked items help students visualize how their thinking may be similar or disparate to that of another student or student partnership.

Students can also read the justifications of classmates by clicking on the shaded comment bubble next to items in the compare with view. Considering the rationale of other students, weighing of evidence cited, and remaining open-minded are all hallmarks of critical thinking, and are exercised with the Rank & Reason tool.

Class averages may also be viewed using the compare feature.

  • Select Class Average to view the average ranking of all students.
  • Select Student Names in the list to view their individual or partner ranking

How can Rank & Reason be used as a voting tool?

During a community service unit, students were asked to submit different ideas for giving back to their school or community. These suggestions were added as choices to the Rank & Reason tool.  

After students ranked these ideas and provided their reasoning based on personal preference, they used the compare feature to view other student responses. They used the Class Average feature to determine the highest ranked option, and after more thoughtful and respectful discussion, chose their project.

Interested in creating your own Rank & Reason? Follow this link and enjoy!

Ready for more? Check out:

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