Sample Rationales with Critique Provided

INTASC Principle 4: The teacher understands and uses a variety of instructional strategies to encourage students' development of critical thinking, problem solving, and performance skills.

I included a lesson in which I had students work in cooperative groups to complete higher-level thinking questions into INTASC principle four because it demonstrates my ability to understand and use a variety of instructional strategies to encourage students' development of critical thinking and problem solving.
This opening "paragraph" is intended to answer the question, "what is the artifact?". It would have been helpful if the intern had included the subject and grade level of the lesson. This intern uses language from the INTASC principle in this paragraph, which can be a nice strategy for cueing in reviewers to important points. However, in this case the principle is merely repeated verbatim. There is nothing in the sentence that lets the reviewer know that the intern understands what the principle means or that clearly connects the artifact to the principle.
This artifact is an example of a lesson in which I used the jigsaw instructional strategy that required my students use their critical thinking and problem solving skills to solve different levels of thinking questions / problems. There were three different levels of questions. Level one were questions that were identifying questions. They are like selective response questions. Level two questions required the students t use a higher level thinking to complete. These are questions such as compare and contrast. The level three questions required the highest level of thinking. An example of level three questions would be pretending you are a character and then describing the character's feelings.
This paragraph is intended to answer the question, "how does this artifact demonstrate mastery of the INTASC principle." A strength of this paragraph is the specific details the intern provides about the levels of questions to promote student thinking. However, the reviewers wondered how the lesson addressed problem solving skills because that was not explained here or in the artifact. They also wondered about the significance of the jigsaw strategy. When they looked through the artifact, they found no additional documentation of this strategy, so they did not know whether or how the intern actually used a jigsaw or whether the intern understood what a jigsaw was. Why was the jigsaw an appropriate strategy along with the questions? Providing the actual questions that the students answered within the artifact would have also been helpful for the reviewers.
This assignment provided a unique assessment of students' skills and ability to problem solve. I determined the students' grade by participation, creativity, and ability to work together as a team to solve their question / problem.
The reviewers expected this paragraph to address how the artifact had a positive impact on student learning. Instead they began to question this intern's assessment choices. How do participation and teamwork measure critical thinking? When they flipped to the artifact to look for additional evidence of impact on student learning, they saw that the analysis portion of the lesson plan again mentioned that assessment was by participation. There was no data provided and no evidence of student learning alluded to. The reflection did not refer to how the instructional strategies worked to support student learning nor did it address student thinking. This required component of the rationale/artifact was clearly NOT addressed by the intern.
This artifact fits into the "teaches" and "assess" sections of the core cluster of instructional activities. I was teaching the students how to work together as a team to solve a problem. I assessed them by creativity, ability to work together as a team, and ability to answer the question with reflective thinking.
As the reviewers looked at the actual lesson plan, they noticed that the objective for the lesson addressed cause and effect. Nowhere in this rationale is cause and effect even mentioned. Surely if that is the objective, then the assessment should relate to cause and effect, as should the instructional activities. Reviewers had concerns about this misalignment.

According to the scoring tool provided, this artifact could receive a maximum score of a 2 because one of the four questions was not addressed. If the student had shown a positive impact on student learning, this artifact would have received a 3. However, in order to receive a 4 or 5, this intern would have needed to proofread more carefully (there were several errors throughout the artifact), explain with more concrete detail, include some kind of assessment data in the analysis, provide actual student work samples or photos of group work, and better align objective, instruction, and assessment.