Sunday, June 10, 2012

Project Assessment?

Project Badge
This is at the final stage of our multi-week endangered species project, and I'm wondering what the project assessment will look like?

Some will argue that the assessment should have been in place prior to the project start, however I believe that can be limiting for big projects like this one.

I am not a big fan of using rubrics to guide projects with specific criteria, instead I like checklists which provide project sequence and scope, yet leave room for differentiated creativity and response. Big projects tend to take on a life their own.

When a project starts, I have a broad expectation of learning goals and presentation attributes.  For this project, I expected the following:
  • Thoughtful reading and research about the topic.
  • A written report that responded to specific categories of information and more if desired.
  • A collection of images that match the written portion of the presentation.
  • The creation of a short public service film that includes music, images and voice.
Once the project is introduced, I work side-by-side with students to help them complete the project and develop the specific standards and skills embedded in the project design. The specific skills embedded in this project included the following:
  • Reading for meaning.
  • Researching online and off to find specific information.
  • Writing text utilizing craft, grammar and correct spelling.
  • Writing a short persuasive public service message.
  • Understanding the broader concepts related to animal science and research.
  • Creating a Google presentation and iMovie.
At our school, we don't let children fail when it comes to learning. We work with them step-by-step to achieve an acceptable level of performance. Our goal is to bring each child forward with new and strengthened skills, knowledge and concept.

Tomorrow, I'll review the assessment form with students and give them a chance to complete and finesse their projects.  After our Museum Open House on Thursday, I'll complete an assessment form for each child and send it home with student's end-year report card and letter so that students and family members can acknowledge the project's strengths and plan for future learning.

How do you assess big projects?  What feedback do you think is most helpful?  How do you make room in your assessments for a project's evolution and change from start to finish?  In what ways do you make sure that all students learn and achieve an acceptable level of project completion?  These are all important questions as we continue to employ project/problem base learning in classrooms today to foster life long learning skills and endeavor.