Edutopia on Facebook
Edutopia on Twitter
Edutopia on Google+
Edutopia on Pinterest Follow Me on Pinterest
WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Grading PBL

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • Share


My district has added pbl as one of the 3 grading categories for all subjects in grades k-8. The other two are Classwork (35%) and Tests (35%). Pbl is the other 30%. 

I'm concerned about how I will have sufficient grades in the PBL category.  I'm new to pbl, but while I know the students need deadlines I am unsure how to have more than one quality PBL assignment per subject every quarter. As it will be 30% of their overall grade in a given subject, I feel it's essential to have multiple grades in the category.


This post was created by a member of Edutopia's community. If you have your own #eduawesome tips, strategies, and ideas for improving education, share them with us.

Comments (3) Sign in or register to comment Subscribe to comments via RSS

Laura Bradley, MA, NBCT's picture
Laura Bradley, MA, NBCT
Middle school English/Digital Media teacher

Wow -- that 30% for PBL does put a lot of eggs into one basket. But what if the grades that go into that PBL category are multiple assessments throughout the process of one PBL? For instance, when my Digital Media students are working on a project, I have them answer a few reflective questions at intervals during the process. They describe what they are working on, share screen-shots or clips of their work so far, set a goal for that week (as opposed to their end goal), and they reflect on what they have learned and how they have overcome a recent challenge on their project. Sometimes I have them present their work in-progress to the class, which is another opportunity for assessment.

When my English students write novels during National Novel Writing Month, they earn grades for many steps throughout the project, and then they choose their best excerpts to revise and submit for grades. That way the PBL grade isn't just one, final, all-or-nothing grade that skews a student's report card grade.

Laura Thomas's picture
Laura Thomas
Director, Antioch University New England Center for School Renewal, Author of Facilitating Authentic Learning, Director of the Antioch Critical Skills Program

I agree with what Laura said. Rather than one all-or-nothing grade for the final result of the project, award smaller, process-oriented points based on demonstrated behaviors. For example, if you want kids to practice communication skills, make a Looks like/ Sounds like chart for quality communication. Then, while they're working, you can gather data about how well they're doing using that chart as your rubric (it also makes a great reflection tool).

Jim Bentley's picture
Jim Bentley
5th/6th grade teacher, Elk Grove, CA, National Faculty Buck Institute for Education

I'd also engineer into the PBL experience chances for kids to produce written work related to their project that can 1) show the instructor what kids "get" or possible don't get and 2) can provide individual accountability for each student if they're working in teams.

Sign in to comment. Not a member? Register.

Join the movement for change