How Can We Effectively Assess Student Learning in PBL?

How Can We Effectively Assess Student Learning in PBL?

If we want to give our students real-world experience, we require an authentic assessment strategy like project-based learning or PBL to guide them in their learning process. Project-Based Learning or PBL is a vibrant approach of teaching that enables students to experience real-world challenges.

PBL assists teachers in effectively assessing their student’s capability and possessed skills in the learning process.

This guide will help you to enhance your thinking on how to effectively assessing student learning in PBL. Tips listed below help you to organize project meanwhile assess students.

Tip #1

Planning is Necessary

In PBL, students do not just memorize the information or theory; they are actually involved more deeply by doing it practically. To make the project successful, invest in the planning before you introduce the project to the students. Planning stage includes:

  • Establishing goals for content and skills in which you want to master your learners.
  • Assessment policies to guide learning and teaching through the project.
  • Move on from the traditional testing methods and plan something new for your students.
  • While going through the project, different students take different role that suits their interest and skills. Develop proper ideas for everyone to assessing their learning. For instance- what do we expect from a scriptwriter or a scientist to do? What do people expect from these professionals; expect the similar performance from your student at the peak of a project to assess what they have learned.

Know about NC, a program of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, provides online resources to notify assessment practices:

Tip #2

Do Not Neglect Soft Skills

Students also require developing soft skills like global-awareness, problem-solving ability, critical-thinking, etc. Projects taken for PBL should also intentionally stress on develop and assess these soft skills that eventually helps students to prepare for the multifaceted challenges in future. PBL must full-fill two purposes:

  • Help students to learn about the real-life challenges
  • Develop skills to face those challenges

Critical Thinking Compendium is an online resource developed by Howard Rheingold and many other big minds of education industry.

Tip #3

Learn from the Experts

Project-Based learning assessment is hot topic in the education industry and many experts or big thinkers keep sharing their experience from time to time.  Educators can learn a lot from those discussions and debates.

Stanford University professor Linda Darling-Hammond talks what the US can learn from high-achieving nations in teaching, learning, and assessment in this video.

Collect Feedback Quickly

Giving students just-in-time feedback while doing the project, is the key to a successful PBL assessment. Always keep things fresh by using mix approach of taking and giving feedback to the students right away. Use few minutes of the classroom to analysis student’s understanding and giving them quick review.

Tip #4

Focus on Teamwork

Teamwork is a standard practice in PBL, without this PBL cannot be implemented. This doesn’t indicate that student automatically understand how to work in a team. Teachers must help students how to engage in a team by teaching them teamwork strategies. Use project calendars to share deadlines, encourage students to learn how team is working and to raise red flags if they need any help.

Tip #5

Track Progress Using Digital Tools

Aside from familiar strategies like questioning and observation, teachers can also use digital devices for assessing student’s progress. Utilizing iPods, mobile devices and podcasting gather information or to assist students.

Tips #6

Grow Your Audience

Growing audience will help students to get feedback from the real audience on their work. The right audience can make learning process deeper for the students. When students demonstrate their work in front of public and get constructive feedback or criticism. Growing audience includes content experts, family members, community members and online participation of people having valuable experience.


About the Author
Author: Prasanna Bharti
Prasanna is a blogger by profession, and loves to write about education technology. Her write-ups intend to provide a deep insight about enormous resources and ideas available to make learning better and effective with the use of technology.

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