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Assessing Projects
If you are looking for help on developing assessment tools for your problem or project based unit, this page will give you guidance.

Once you've selected an activity that matches your classroom curriculum and have identified which learning standards this lesson will be addressing, the next important step is planning how you will assess student learning. Assessment should be an evaluative tool that measures student achievement of those standards.

  1. "The key to effective performance and valid scoring is setting standards and criteria in advance."
    (RMC Research Corporation, 17 July 2004)
  2. Once you have selected a valid scoring standard clearly communicate what this is to the students and parents before the project begins.

1. Download this Worksheet

Download this worksheet to help you record notes about your assessment tools for this activity.

Word Adobe Acrobat (PDF)
Assessing Student Learning Assessing Student Learning

2. Develop Your Assessment Tools

A. Read this Article

Read the article "Choose a Set of Content Standards and Develop Your Performance Descriptions and Expectations" (17 July 2004) which was written by RMC Research Corporation with a grant from the US Department of Education.

According to this article, they state that there are four kinds of standards:

  1. concepts and information (what students should know)
  2. skills (what students should be able to do)
  3. communication (how students can articulate concepts and skills)
  4. transfer (how they can apply information and skills in new ways or to different subject matters)

Share with your group the answers to these questions:

  1. Describe how you would use a holistic rubric in your classroom. Which of the four standards are you measuring with this rubric?
  2. Describe how you would use a analytic or trait rubric in your classroom. Which of the four standards are you measuring with this rubric?
B. Include Formative Assessment

Historically we have used summative measures for assessing student achievement (e.g. multiple choice questions that test content knowledge), but studies are showing that we should also include formative assessments so that process thinking of the students is also measured.

US Department of Education has published an article "What Are Promising Ways to Assess Student Learning?" (17 July 2004) and lists examples of performance assessments that we can use:

  1. Open-ended or constructed response items
    (students construct their answer that may have multiple good answers)
  2. Performance-based items or events
    (questions, tasks, or activities that require students to perform an action)
  3. Projects or experiments
    (extended performance tasks that may take several days or even several weeks to complete)
  4. Portfolios
    (collections of student work that show teachers and others who may "score" portfolios the range and quality of student work over a period of time and in various content areas)
C. Find and Adapt Assessments for this Project

Now that you have identified the kinds of assessment tools you can use to measure student achievement, the next step is either creating or finding and adapting assessment tools for your project.

Tips for Finding Tools Follow these steps:

Use the following websites for examples of assessment tools that you can use and adapt or generate your own rubric for assessment:

Generate Your Own Rubric
RubiStar: Rubrics for PBL
Assessment & Curriculum Tools
Rubrics Generator
Find and Adapt a Rubric
Rubrics for Web Lessons
Teacher Developed Assessment
Multi-media Rubric
Science Rubric
Additional Resource Sites
Kathy Schrock's Rubric Info
  1. Use the worksheet you downloaded to record the following:
    1. learning standard
    2. clear learning goals and objectives that match the learning standard
    3. check which kind of standard this is addressing
    4. activity description that describes what students will be doing to learn this standard
  2. Create or find and adapt a rubric that measures student achievement of this learning standard
D. Evaluating Student Knowledge

Before you use this assessment tool to measure student learning, you should:

  • Have a colleague read your assessment to see if it clearly measures the learning standards and goals for this project (does it make sense to them?).
  • Involve the students in determining what should be included in the assessment. Students should have some decision-making role and should be actively involved with the assessment process.
  • Clearly communicate how this project will be assessed to the students and parents before the project begins.