Long-term projects are an excellent way for students to demonstrate their mastery of a subject. Multiple learning aims can be assessed in a single project. Projects can be individual or designed for a group to work on together and submit. Whether you use individual or group projects, consider a public presentation of projects to allow students to benefit from the work of their classmates.
Examples of projects
Advantages and challenges of project assessments
Advantages of project assessments
- Well-designed projects can assess higher order skills like synthesize, evaluate, and create.
- A choice of project topics can be motivating for students.
- Projects can be broken down into smaller steps with accountability to keep students on track and spot mistakes early.
Challenges of project assessments
- Students need some support to keep them on track, motivated, and prevent procrastination.
- Grading projects can be time consuming.
- Group projects can be met with student resistance and may need extra support.
Creating project assessments
- Create an authentic project.
- If using a group project make sure it benefits from participation of multiple people.
Web resource: Successful Project Characteristics from A Faculty Guide to Team Projects.
Preparing students for project assessments
- Explain the purpose of the project and connect it to course learning aims.
- Describe how completion of the project will benefit students.
- Provide a scoring rubric ahead of time.
- If using a group project – provide students with guidance on how to work together as a team.
Web resource: Learn how to teach students teamwork skills as part of supporting students on projects.
Administering and grading project assessments
Administering project assessments
- Provide a clear description and allow opportunities for student questions.
- Break the project into smaller pieces with due dates distributed throughout the term.
Grading project assessments
- Use a rubric to guide grading.
- Consider having students peer review other student’s drafts (using a rubric) with an opportunity to redo before final submission for a grade. Offer guidelines for reviewing and commenting on other students’ project drafts.