IntelAssessing Projects : Using Assessment to Improve Teaching and Learning

Types of Assessment | Formative Assessment | Assess Thinking | Successful Assessment

Project Design

Purposes of Assessment

Overview and Benefits

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Assessment Plans

Assessment Strategies


Assessing Projects (CD)

Assessing Projects* (online)

Assessment throughout the Learning Cycle

Effective assessment is ongoing and continuous.
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Ongoing Assessment
Teachers are constantly collecting informal and formal information about what and how their learners are learning. They check learner tests and assignments, listen to small-group activities, and observe learners engaged in structured and unstructured activities. They use this information for a variety of purposes, ranging from communicating with parents to meeting assessment standards. However, when teachers systematically collect the right kinds of information and use it effectively, they can help their learners grow as thinkers and learners.

We use the term “assessment” to refer specifically to all kinds of methods and strategies that provide information about a learner’s learning. Formative assessment provides learners with feedback about how they are doing throughout the learning process. Summative assessment takes place at the end of a project and gives learners and teachers information about the skills and knowledge that learners have acquired.

Using a broader variety of ongoing assessment throughout the teaching and learning cycle can provide much more valuable information to both the teacher and learners. Formative assessment can be used to:
  • Gauge learners' prior knowledge and readiness 
  • Encourage self-direction and collaboration   
  • Provide diagnostic feedback to teacher and learner 
  • Monitor progress
  • Check for understanding and encourage metacognition
  • Demonstrate understanding and skill
The overarching purpose of assessment is to give teachers the information they need to provide quality teaching. Embedded and on-going assessment is at the heart of project-based learning and provides a way for learners to show and discover what they know in different ways. With assessment integrated throughout a project, teachers learn more about their learners’ needs and can adjust teaching to improve learner achievement. McMillan (2000) explains, “When assessment is integrated with teaching and learning, it informs teachers about what activities and assignments will be most useful, what level of teaching is most appropriate, and how summative assessments provide diagnostic information.”