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A Grid for Comparing Different Options

Each week, Instant Meeting presents an idea or activity that you might use to make staff meetings more interesting, teacher-centered, educational, or fun.

Brief Description/Purpose

An Option Comparison Grid is a graphic way to look at how well different options meet your agreed-on criteria.

Materials Needed

Flip chart paper or, even better, a larger piece of paper (4'x6') that you can tape to a flat wall. You'll need watercolor markers, since permanent markers will bleed through the paper to the wall.

Time Required

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And don't miss our Great Meeting series. Dee Kelsey and Pam Plumb offer a short course on creating meetings that work, based on their popular guide, Great Meetings. They present ideas to help you learn how to lead meetings that generate ideas; analyze problems; define a vision; evaluate ideas and make decisions; plan for long-range needs; encourage group participation and keep groups on track; and much more.

The exercise can be done in 20-40 minutes depending of the size of the group and the complexity of the issue.

"Instant Meeting" Idea

Imagine that your hiring team is looking at three finalists for a teacher in your gifted and talented program. The candidates are great, but each brings a slightly different background and set of skills. How can you compare them effectively and make a clear choice?

First, you must take a close look at the criteria you have established for the position.

  • Some of those criteria may be "must haves" -- such as educational requirements, or certification or experience in special education for the gifted.
  • Some may be "added value criteria" -- the individual might have a high energy level, add to the diversity of the faculty, a background in science, or track record of collaborating well with other teachers.

When the criteria are agreed on, use a large sheet of paper and construct a grid with the criteria listed down the left side (include a space for extra comments) and the candidates' names listed across the top.

  • First, check off the "must have" criteria to ensure that each candidate meets that standard.
  • Next, check off the "added value" criteria and mark whether or not the candidate brings that extra value.
  • Last, add any additional comments that may weigh on your decision in the bottom box.

Now you should have a pretty clear visual image of which candidate best meets your criteria.

Sample diagram:

Criteria Candidate
Candidate B Candidate
Must have Criteria:      
Masters in Education or related field
Certified teacher YES YES YES
Experience in teaching gifted YES YES NO
Added Criteria:      
High energy YES NO YES
Adds diversity to staff NO YES NO
Science background YES YES NO
Collaborates well with other teachers YES NO NO
Additional Comments: Received very positive comments from parents Is fluent in Spanish Some references mentioned a problem with collaboration

This idea was submitted by Dee Kelsey and Pam Plumb, authors of Great Meetings, Great Results!