Introduction to NetPBL: Collaborative Project-Based Learning
Project-Based Learning
1. Goals, Objectives, Standards
2. Select a Project
3. Audience
4. Assessment
5. Assessment Resources
6. When Disaster Strikes
Net PBL Project Plan Map
Communications: The Real Power of the Web
A Visit to Hillside School

4. Assessment of
Project-Based Learning

An effective assessment program uses multiple strategies to demonstrate growth and performance, and should be closely correlated to your stated goals. Projects in which students create multimedia presentations, Web pages, artwork or songs may be evaluated differently than traditional written, typed, or even word-processed papers. Assessment strategies can include performance tasks, teacher observations, personal communications, standardized testing, and student and teacher developed evaluation rubrics, and others.

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Before beginning a project, it is always necessary to ask:

  • How will you know if your project was successful?
  • How will you measure what students learn?

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What is the function of assessment in PBL?

bullet.gif (921 bytes) Assessment helps teachers develop more complex relationships with their students...

bullet.gif (921 bytes) Assessment helps students answer the questions "Am I getting it?" and "How am I doing?"...

bullet.gif (921 bytes) Assessment can help make content connections clear...

bullet.gif (921 bytes) Assessment engages students directly in the evaluation of their own work...

bullet.gif (921 bytes) Assessment helps teachers plan their next steps...

bullet.gif (921 bytes) Assessment helps students plan their projects...



The most common assessment and evaluation tools used for collaborative learning are web-based rubrics. Most generate printable versions of the rubric. Some have a rubric calculator, allowing the teacher  to select appropriate performance indicators and have a grade generated. Developing meaningful rubrics can be a challenge. Involving students in the development of rubrics helps them with their thinking, creates buy-in on their part, and clarifies expectations all around.

A rubric simply lists a set of criteria which define and describe the important components of the work being planned or evaluated. A given criterion is then stated in several different levels of completion or competence, with a weighted score assigned to each level (0 being the lowest level) (see the list below for examples of rubrics).

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Online Rubric Builders:

Rubistar - free

Rubric Builder - free

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A good rubric will perform several functions:

  • a guide for planning
  • a gauge for measuring progress and maintaining focus on project goals
  • an instrument for assessing  the effectiveness of a project.

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Examples of Rubrics for NetPBL:

International Schools CyberFair

Mosaics of Life

Multimedia PBL Rubric

A rubric should give clear guidelines to a reviewer on how to evaluate or "grade" a project presentation. Since the criteria for assessment are clearly defined in gradations from poor to excellent, different reviewers can arrive at similar conclusions when comparing a given presentation to each of the graduated criteria on a rubric.

As a guide for planning, a rubric gives students clear targets of proficiency to aim for. With a rubric in hand, they know what constitutes a "good" project presentation.

As a gauge for measuring progress while the project is under way, a rubric can be a handy tool to help keep students on target: they can compare their progress with where they want to be on the rubric's proficiency scale, and refer to it in order to remind themselves of their goal.

Finally, as an assessment tool, teachers can use it to assess projects, student groups, or individual students; students can use the same rubric for self-assessment as individuals, in groups, and for peer assessment; and parents can answer for themselves their questions about their child's performance.

While some ready-made rubrics may help to accomplish these different purposes, they become even more powerful when students help develop the rubric they will be using. Students must actively focus on and discuss the characteristics of effective and interesting media projects, giving them depths of understanding and insight not likely achieved from using a ready-made rubric.

The resources on the next page include a list of useful rubrics.

Page 1: Goals, Objectives, Standards
Page 2: Select a Project
Page 3: Audience
Page 4: Assessment
Page 5: Assessment Resources
Page 6: When Disaster Strikes

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