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PBL Assessments

07 Jul
This week’s post is about how the assessments I planned for my PBL project meets the key requirements for effective assessments. One of the tasks this week was to create a rubric as part of the overall assessment plan. This worked for me, as rubrics are my preferred measurement tool. The reasons I like rubrics so much is that they provide students with clear-cut guidelines/expectations for each criteria, reduce subjectivity in grading, and can be used by both teachers and students to assess work. They also streamline grading. I mistakenly thought it would be easy to design one for my project since I am familiar with several rubric generators and knew what I wanted students to be able to demonstrate at the end of the unit. The truth is, it was a little daunting making sure each standard and skill was fully addressed.

The project I am working on is a marketing project that incorporates language arts standards and a variety of tech tools. It is intended to be team-taught with a language arts and a computer applications teacher. Students will have the opportunity to use tech tools in “real-world” applications to create a marketing solution to a problem. What I like about creating a project is that you have the liberty of determining how students will  demonstrate learning and tailor your instruction to fit the audience. This is what I kept in mind as I selected the various assessments.  I like what many may consider backward design, creating assessments before content, for several reasons. 
  1. Knowing what you will assess makes designing lessons easier. You know what students will need to have mastered at the end of the unit rather than coming to the end and trying to throw an assessment together. 
  2. As the designer, you get to decide the standards and what students need to produce or demonstrate to show mastery. You are not locked into a publisher’s notion of what  or how to assess. 
  3. When you have a summative assessment to work from, there is more accountability in the instructional process.
  4. Having formative assessments built in helps monitor how students are progressing. These checkpoints provide opportunities to celebrate successes while identifying when re-teaching and enriching is needed. 
  5. Using multiple measures allows students to demonstrate learning in a variety of ways and provides documentation of student growth.
While I can design the summative assessment for the project and the formative assessments for non-academic standards, unfortunately the majority of the formative academic assessments are set by the school district. So, I will have to work them into the plan. While I did create the rubric for the summative assessment, the peer and self assessments are not complete. I want student input before finalizing them, even though I have an fairly good idea of what the assessment needs to look like. 

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