Design Guide

Designers for Learning - Adult Learning Zone

Table of Contents

Project Requirements

Part 1: Lesson Description

Lesson Title


Learner Audience / Primary Users

Educational Use

College & Career Readiness Standards (CCRS) Alignment


Material Type

Learning Goals


Time Required for Lesson

Prior Knowledge

Required Resources

Lesson Author & License

Part 2: Lesson

Learning Objectives

Lesson Topics

Context Summary

Relevance to Practice

Key Terms and Concepts

Instructional Strategies and Activities



Presentation / Modeling / Demonstration

Guided Practice



Part 3: Supplementary Resources & References

Supplementary Resources


Attribution Statements

Part 1: Lesson Description

Lesson Title

Presenting an Evidence-Based Argument for a Raise in the Workplace


The purpose of this lesson is for adult learners to improve their communication skills, specifically speaking and listening, by constructing and presenting an evidence-based argument in favor of a raise.

Arguments consist of evidence-based claims that are relevant to their work scenario. The target audience is adults at the 8th grade reading and writing levels. This lesson suites face-to-face classrooms where educators need to be flexible, creative, and resourceful.  This lesson involves reading, writing, and speaking components. The entire lesson will take 60 minutes to complete.

Learner Audience / Primary Users

The primary audience of this lesson is adults that are studying to take the general education development (GED). Ideally, the adult learners for this course have spent some time in a workplace setting. The primary users of this lesson do not need prior experience with technology because they can write out the main assignments in the workbook or on paper. 

Educational Use

  • Curriculum / Instruction
  • Professional Development



Material Type

  • Infographic
  • Instructional Material
  • Lesson Plan
  • Student Guide


  • Designers for Learning
  • Adult Education
  • Income Raise in the Workplace
  • Speaking and Listening
  • Presenting an Argument

Time Required for Lesson

60 minutes

Targeted Skills

  • Career
  • Life
  • Speaking
  • Listening
  • Presenting
  • Writing
  • Interpersonal

Learning Objectives

By the end of this lesson, the learner will be able to:

  • Select relevant data to support an argument for a workplace raise
  • Identify the right time to ask for a workplace raise
  • Craft an evidence-based case for a workplace raise
  • Present an evidence-based argument for a workplace raise
  • Describe a rejection back-up plan

College & Career Readiness Standards (CCRS) Alignment

  • Subject:           English Language Arts / Literacy
  • Grade Level:   D
  • Strand:             Speaking and Listening

Standard Description

CCR Anchor 4: Present information, findings, and supporting evidence such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

Present claims and findings, emphasizing salient points in a focused, coherent manner with relevant evidence, sound valid reasoning, and well-chosen details; use appropriate eye contact, adequate volume, and clear pronunciation. (SL.8.4)

Prior Knowledge

The adult learner must have at least 8th-grade level reading and writing skills. Ideally, the learner should have spent some time in the workplace but it is not mandatory to complete this lesson.

Required Resources

  • Chalkboard/Flip Chart
  • Pen/Pencil (one per learner)
  • Workbook (one per learner)
  • Gift Certificate (one per learner)

Download: Raise Gift Certificate.pdf

Download: Evidence-Based Argument Workbook.pdf

Lesson Author and License

  • Lesson Author: Rema Merrick

Part 2: Lesson

Instructional Strategies and Activities


Time: 3 minutes

Step 1: Pass out the gift certificates to learners and ask learners to think about the question below. Have them write their responses on the gift certificate.

If you had an extra 200 dollars per month, how would you spend it or on what would you spend it?

Use this gift certificate in the Warm-Up activity.
Raise Gift Certificate 1.pngUse this gift certificate in the Warm-Up activity.

Use this gift certificate in the Warm-Up activity.

Step 2: Ask learners to introduce themselves and share what they would do with the extra money?

Step 3: Start the activity by using yourself as an example (e.g., My name is Jane Doe. If I had $200 extra per month I would spend it on going the movies and out to dinner.)

Step 4: Thank learners for sharing their thoughts and use this activity to transition to the introduction saying something like the script below.

"Thank you for sharing your ideas about what you would do with extra monthly income. Now, we are going to focus on one specific way to earn additional income --- by asking for a workplace raise."


Time:   7 minutes

Step 1: Write four columns on a blackboard, flip chart or piece of paper, that you can track, with the titles below.

  • Company Situation
  • Position
  • Work Performance
  • Miscellaneous

Step 2: Ask learners the question below and have learners raise their hands as a positive response.

How many of you have ever asked for a raise?

Step 3: Ask the learners who raised their hands the following questions:

Did you get a raise? If so, what do you think led to your success or if not, why do you think you did not get the raise?

[OPTION: If no one raises his/her hand (no one has ever asked for a raise), say to learners, “Imagine you’ve been at your current job for about a year, and you want to convince your boss that you deserve a raise. What types of information would you present to your boss to support your case?”

Start the discussion with an example. “For example, I would let my boss know that I have been on time to work every single day for the past year.”

Step 4: Write the answers/thoughts/ideas in one of the appropriate columns: company situation, position, work performance or miscellaneous. For example, if a learner says "One of the reasons I got the raise was because the company made a lot of money that year." You would write under the Company Situation column "company profitable."

Step 5: Thank learners for their contributions and tell them that there are several factors that can contribute to their success when asking for a raise, for example, the company's situation, your position and your work performance.

Step 6: Present the lesson objectives, topics, key terms and concepts. Encourage learners to follow along in their workbook. 


Time:  25 minutes

Step 1: Tell learners that for the next activity they will break off into groups. Separate learners into groups of three or four. Ask learners to open their workbooks to page 4. Tell learners they are going to read a short story to which you want them to pay close attention. At the end of the story, each group will answer five questions.

Step 2: Ask for a volunteer to read the story. If appropriate, break up the reading by having several volunteer learners read different paragraphs.

Step 3: Once the learner(s) finishes reading the story, have each group select a writer and a spokesperson. Explain that the writer will write the answers to the questions and the spokesperson will present the answers to the class in the format listed on page 6 of the workbook.


Antonia is the twenty-year old mother of Sammy, a vivacious two-year old girl. She wants to make a better life for Sammy and herself, so she works hard to excel at her current position as a sales associate at Fionna’s Department Store. Antonia stands at the cash register in the women’s shoe department of the store reflecting on her morning. It was hectic but now there is a lull and she has a few minutes to relax.

As she reflects on the past year and a half at this job, she feels proud. She loves her job, customers, and coworkers. She got high marks on her reviews; she gets many positive letters from customers; and she consistently exceeds her weekly sales goals. She has done so well that last month her boss had her lead a high profile project, which increased her responsibilities. Coworkers now see her as the guru in this space. She plans to increase her sales another five percent per month over the next six months. However, she has never received a raise and feels a little discouraged because some of her coworkers have received raises. She wonders what she is doing wrong or needs to do differently.

She finally gets up the nerve to talk to her mentor, Steve; the company assigned him to help her acclimate when she was first hired. Steve encourages her to ask her boss for a raise. Steve explains that the company’s situation is favorable for a raise; they are doing well financially and want to invest in the employees.  

Antonia sets up an appointment with her boss, Melanie, at 8:00 am on Monday morning to ask for a raise. She tells her boss that she deserves the raise because of her hard work and she knows that other employees who perform worse than she does have gotten raises. Melanie listens but does not say much. She seems tired and cranky. At the end of Antonia’s presentation, Melanie says she needs to think about it. Later in the week, Melanie tells Antonia that she cannot offer her a raise right now but she can revisit the issue in about three months. Antonia is disappointed.

While watching Good Morning America, Antonia sees a segment that talks about the right way to ask for a raise. She realizes that she made some mistakes in her meeting with Malanie and she needs to change her approach. She decides that she is going to be well prepared for the next meeting with Melanie in three months.

Here is her game plan. She will:

  1. Conduct research to find out if her current salary is low, high, or within the appropriate range. She is going use and reach out to the human resources department to verify this information.  
  2. Write out a list of her contributions, awards, achievements, and future performance goals.  
  3. Construct a presentation that includes her contributions/achievements and future performance goals.
  4. Design a back-up plan in case her boss rejects her request again. If she does not get the raise, she will ask what she needs to do to improve her performance and what company goals she needs to meet before management will start considering raises.
  5. Ask Steve, her mentor, for feedback on her presentation and make adjustments accordingly.  
  6. Practice the conversation a head of time.   

It has been three months and Antonia believes she is ready for the next meeting with her boss. Her salary research revealed she makes about 10% less than the other sales associates do. She incorporated the feedback she got from Steve into her presentation. He told her to consider Melanie’s priorities and explain how she will help her boss meet her goals. She has practiced her presentation and rejection plan so many times that she knows it by heart. She wants to make sure her boss is in the best mood. She notices that her boss is always happy on Friday mornings and decides to schedule a meeting for next Friday at 9:30 am.

Do you think Antonia is ready for this meeting with her boss or does she need additional preparation?

Brainstorm Activity. Have each group reflect on the story and brainstorm answers to the questions below. Learners may write the answers in their workbooks or provide them with extra pieces of paper.

  • Do you think the environment at Fionna’s department store is favorable for raises right now? Why or why not?
  • Do you think Antonia’s current salary situation is appropriate per current market conditions? Why or why not?
  • What are some examples of Antonia’s work performance, contributions, and achievements that support her case to receive a raise?
  • Do you believe Antonia selected the right time to ask for a raise? Why or why not?
  • What is Antonia’s back-up plan if she does not receive a raise?

Discussion Activity. Have each group's spokesperson present the answers to the questions in the format below. Discuss each group's answers with the class.

Antonia we think you should/should not ask for a raise based on the following information:

  • The company’s situation is/is not favorable because …
  • Antonia’s current salary is appropriate/inappropriate per current market conditions because …
  • Antonia displays/does not display high-quality work performance because …
  • Antonia selected the right time to ask for a raise because …
  • If Antonia’s boss rejects her request for a raise, Antonia plans to … …  

Step 4: Thank the groups for the great input and ask each group to develop a short script for Antonia to use. Have the group members switch roles and present the short script to the class. Learners will present a two-part request that highlights Antonia’s contributions and her future performance goals. The script should include an introduction, body, and conclusion as outlined below. 

Introduction: Show you understand your manager’s point of view.

Body: Present your contributions, including how they add value to the company.

Conclusion: Present your performance goals and ask for a raise.

Encourage learners to use the example script below as a guide. The script is also in the workbook.

Two-Part Case Script Example


Thank you for taking the time to meet with me. From last quarter’s financials, I can see that our profits have increased. I know that there is pressure to continue increasing the company’s profits and I would like to contribute to to this goal. (Show you understand your manager’s point of view.)


One way to increase profits is to increase sales. For the past six months, I’ve consistently added value to the company by exceeding my sales target by five percent each month. In addition, I receive at least five positive customer testimonials per month. (Present your contributions and how they add value to the company.)


My goal for the next six months is to increase my sales an additional five percent by reaching out to my loyal customers. May I have a five percent pay increase? (Present your performance goals and ask for the raise.)   

Step 5: Thank learners for their participation. Use the infographic below as a guide to review the main points of the activity.

Provides learners with a quick, easy reference to lesson topics.
Raise Infographic.pngProvides learners with a quick, easy reference to lesson topics.

Provides learners with a quick, easy reference to lesson topics.


Time: 15 minutes 

Step 1: Separate learners into groups of two or three. Have learners prepare an argument for a raise based on the presentation rubric (below) located in the workbook. Tell learners they may use a current/past, real/imaginary situation. Have them present the argument to each member of the group and each member provides feedback based on the peer-to-peer feedback rubric (below) in the workbook. When providing feedback, each member should give one item/example that supported the argument and provide one item that was missing and could be added to the argument.

Presentation Rubric






Criteria #1

Criteria #2

Criteria #3

Does the argument have a clear introduction, body, and conclusion? *




Does the argument present at least three unique contributions?

Contribution #1

Contribution #2

Contribution #3

Does the argument present at least three performance goals?

Goal #1

Goal #2

Goal #3


* Introduction: Show you understand your manager’s point of view; Body: Present your contributions, including how they add value to the company; Conclusion: Present your performance goals and ask for a raise.



Item/Example that supported the argument





Item that was missing from the argument






Time: 15

Step 1: Learners take the presentation they prepared in the guided practice, make adjustments based on the peer-to-peer feedback, and present it to the class. Explain the grading system and expectations for the evaluation. A copy of the evaluation rubric is located in the workbook.

Step 2: Use the evaluation rubric below to evaluate each learner's presentation.

Evaluation Rubric






Missing two or more

elements (1 pt)

Missing one element

(2 pts)

Meets all elements

(3 pts)

Argument has a clear introduction, body, and conclusion *

Argument presents at least three unique contributions




Argument presents at least three performance goals




* Introduction: Show you understand your manager’s point of view; Body: Present your contributions, including how they add value to the company; Conclusion: Present your performance goals and ask for a raise.


Time: 5 minutes

Step 1: Have learners reflect on the questions below and write their answers in the workbook.

  • Today I learned … 
  • I was surprised when …
  • I think I will …
  • I would have liked …
  • Now I understand ...

Step 2: Ask for volunteers to share their reflections.

Key Terms and Concepts

Added Value: The results an employee produces that supports the success of the company (e.g., save the company money, increase sales, or increase efficiency.)

Contributions: Things accomplished that adds value to the company (e.g., money saving ideas implemented, positive customer feedback, etc.)

Pay Raise: An increase to the yearly salary or hourly wage that an employee receives.

Performance Goal: An action or set of actions an employee intends to achieve in the future within his or her workplace.

Salary Data: Yearly salary or hourly wage rates based on research.

Work Performance: The tasks and duties an employee performs as a part of his or her job description.

Part 3: Supplementary Resources and References

Supplementary Resources

Resource Location
Accomplishments Worksheet
Salary Data



O'Hara, Carolyn. (2015) How to Ask for a Raise. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from

Steen, Margaret. (ND). Can I ask for a Raise Yet? How to Ask for a Raise. Retrieved from

Attribution Statements

“This work, PRESENTING AN EVIDENCE-BASED ARGUMENT IN FAVOR OF A RAISE, is a derivative of ‘MAKING AN EVIDENCE-BASED ARGUMENT FOR A RAISE IN THE  WORKPLACE by CHRISTINA MCNISH, used under a under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International license. 

CC Attribution

This course content is offered by Designers for Learning under a CC Attribution license.
Content in this course can be considered under this license unless otherwise noted.        
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(Design Guide effective April 30, 2017)

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