How do you place students into learning groups?

Student placement is one of the most difficult tasks for a camp director. When assessing student placement I have to balance several considerations. First, I have to assess students’ skill level, and the strength of their resume. Next, I have to understand the student’s strengths and weaknesses to effectively pair them with an instructor that specializes in teaching areas that they are deficient in. Finally, I have to factor in the social aspect of learning such as age, to ensure that all students feel comfortable working with each other. At NSD we truly hope that students walk away from camp with long-term friends. What I encourage students to recognize is that lab placement is inherently zero sum. In other words, placing a student in one lab means others cannot be placed in said lab. While some students may want to be in a specific lab to be paired with a certain instructor or with their friends, I ask that students put trust in us to place them in the most optimal possible situation for them to succeed. Our instructors are incredibly adept at gauging the classroom and assessing whether or not it is appropriate to up the pace. In order to get the most accurate placement, we ask that students are diligent and careful when filling out their evaluation form.