Designing Effective Projects : Planning Projects
Assessment in Projects
Assessment Goals Redefined
Conventional classroom settings offer limited assessment tools, such as test-taking and oral speeches. These methods are quick and easy, but they provide relatively limited information about a learner’s progress and the effectiveness of teaching within a unit of learning. Ongoing and broader types of assessment provide more meaningful information. Specifically, use assessment tools to:
  • Gauge learners’ prior knowledge
  • Clearly define and communicate learning goals to learners
  • Provide diagnostic feedback to teachers and learners
  • Assess and improve teaching effectiveness
  • Identify learners’ strengths and weaknesses 
  • Improve learners’ awareness of learning progress
  • Engage learners in self-assessment and communication of learning progress
Good projects are designed with the end in mind. This means starting with the goals, determining what learners need to know, and then defining how to assess understanding. All of this is considered before activities are developed. This “backwards” approach to instructional design helps a project stay focused on learning targets. Assessment for projects should be planned to:
  • Use a variety of assessment methods
  • Embed assessment throughout the learning cycle 
  • Assess the learning goal and assessment standards of the project
  • Engage learners in the assessment processes
Integrating Assessment throughout Instruction
Before beginning a project, use assessment data to determine a starting point by addressing the following questions:
  • What prior knowledge needs to be addressed?
  • What types of activities are required?
  • How will learners be grouped for collaborative learning?

During the project, use assessments with learners to:

  • Share project goals and assessment standard criteria
  • Provide self-direction opportunities for learners to set goals, make plans, and reflect on learning
  • Monitor progress towards goals
  • Monitor learning and understanding
  • Foster peer feedback
  • Identify misconceptions 
  • Determine if knowledge is being applied in new situations
After the project, use assessments with learners to:
  • Identify areas for further study
  • Plan upcoming learning opportunities


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