The "Ticket to Ride" Formative Assessment Ritual: Collaboration and Festivity in High School Chemistry

Document Type


Publication Date



© 2015 The American Chemical Society and Division of Chemical Education, Inc. Chemistry taught in high schools typically has group interaction components designed to provide opportunities for groups of two or more students to collaborate. Such opportunities, however, can lead to diminished learning among some students, as domination, group dissonance, and/or non-participation among group members can derail the collaborative effort. Can the strategic formulation of groups enhance performance on traditional collaborative chemistry activities conducted within these groups, and can the establishment of a festive formative unit assessment strategy contribute to improved individual and aggregate achievement while improving group coherence? This paper describes a decade-long effort to ameliorate pitfalls common to group learning in two small, rural high schools in Wisconsin. This effort combines a suite of approaches, including: meta-cognitive strategies for establishing long term, heterogeneous groups; fostering group adhesion through development of common achievement incentives; development of collaborative assessment strategies; and creating a festive and ritualistic classroom environment. (Figure Presented).

Publication Title

Journal of Chemical Education