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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

What's in your project assessment toolkit?

What's in your project assessment toolkit?

Related Tags: Project-Based Learning
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For an upcoming guide for Edutopia, I'm looking for suggestions and resources that help with PBL assessment. Most of us appreciate the value of rubrics and scoring guides for end-of-project assessment, but I'm curious to learn what else is in your toolkit for meaningful assessment. For example: What are your favorite strategies for formative assessment? How does assessment change at different stages of a project? How do you help students evaluate their own progress? What helps with assessing teamwork and collaboration in PBL? How do you incorporate feedback from outside experts about student performance or portfolios? Thanks for sharing your ideas!

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Amy Hollinger's picture
Amy Hollinger
K-12 Administrator/Facilitator

For formative assessment in the past we have had our students do a free response blog entry. On our upcoming projects we are going to have them set up a blog just for project daily reflections and work. We plan to have them start each PBL day with goal setting (which they will post on their blogs) and at the end of the day reflect on the following: 1. did I meet my goals? 2. What dilemmas and barriers did I encounter today? 3. How did I solve these dilemmas? 4. How would I rate my collaboration with my group? 5.Lingering issues/questions etc. and places to start next project block.

On their blogs they will also post their essential questions and project plans.

As we read their blogs we hope to gain a greater insight into ways in which we can help support their work as well as encourage them to be reflective and develop a better sense of themselves as a learner.

Another formative assessment tool that we will continue to use with this next PBL that is invaluable to both facilitators is the simple act of sitting with groups daily and listening to them work. We both catch a lot of information about the work that the students are doing and the directions they are headed by simply sitting, listening, and throwing in an occasional question.

Finally, for formative assessments we both write a daily reflective blog about what we noticed about PBL work throughout the day. For this next round of PBLs we are planning to continue this blog and are planning to include any barriers to success that we saw throughout the day as well as identify pluses and deltas in our work as facilitators. We will also invite students to read our blog just as we read their blog.

As for experts we utilize them in two ways. On the front end of the project students contact them for support in building background knowledge or to help design the project. Currently our elementary students are in the process of contacting experts to help them design a recycling program for our town.

The second way that we use experts is after students have completed initial research and put together their first "draft" of their project. Students identify and send their projects to "experts in the field" of whatever topic they were working on. These usually are University Professors or another professional like a scientist etc. Once they receive feedback on the project the students must use the feedback to continue their work. This is the step that most students like the most. They usually receive some pretty great feedback including things like, "Don't forget to cite your photographs because I (the expert reviewer) took the photograph that you are using in your project." Great life lessons!

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