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Practical PBL: The Ongoing Challenges of Assessment

Practical PBL: The Ongoing Challenges of Assessment
In recent years, most students in my project-based AP Government classes have indicated, in both class discussions and anonymously on surveys, that they prefer project-based learning to a more traditional classroom experience. They find PBL more fun and believe that it leads to deeper learning. However, two types of students often resist this model. Both types of students benefit from the option of choosing their role in project cycles to increase motivation. Fair Assessment of Teamwork To increase buy-in for both types of students, the most important thing a teacher needs to do is help build individual accountability -- and, by extension, trust -- in student teams. 1) Individual Skill Areas I have developed an individual semester portfolio as the most important measure of a student's skills assessment. Oral communicationWritten communicationAssuming a roleUse of primary textsLeadershipBeing a team player 2) Role-Based Assessment 3) "Weighted" Scoring Related:  Project Based LearningEdutopia PBL Gatewaybest practices

Making Games: The Ultimate Project-Based Learning Gamestar Mechanic Part 6 of MindShift’s Guide to Games and Learning. As game-based learning increases in popularity, it’s easy to get pigeon-holed into one particular way of thinking about it or one way of employing it. This is true regardless of how teachers feel about gaming in the classroom, whether they’re for or against it. One common objection to game-based learning is that students will sit in front of screens being taught at. In previous posts in this series, I’ve argued that because games involve systems thinking, they contextualize learning. “Games are just simulators with an internal incentive structure (often dopamine based). However, virtual simulations of hands-on experience are not the same as tangibly engaging with the world. Fortunately, few people are calling for games to replace school as we know it. Just as there are many apps and platforms designed to teach kids coding, there are also many apps and platforms that make it easy for kids to design their own games.

Studies in Success: A Survey of Assessment Research | Edutopia Researchers found that authentic work, such as the architectural project completed by students in Eeva Reeder's geometry class, yielded higher test scores for students. Academic research points to the benefits -- and identifies ongoing challenges -- of implementing performance assessments in K-12 classrooms. Studies also identify the impact technology can have and is having on both classroom and large-scale assessments. Following are synopses of a sampling of studies on K-12 assessment. Authentic Work Yields Higher Test Scores A three-year study of teaching and learning in more than 400 third-, sixth-, and eighth-grade classrooms in Chicago found that when students were given writing and mathematics assignments calling for more authentic work, they performed better on tests used to judge basic skills. According to the report, "Authentic Intellectual Work and Standardized Tests: Conflict or Coexistence? Adapting Tests to Students' Abilities The Medium Matters

What is PBL? To help teachers do PBL well, we created a comprehensive, research-based model for PBL — a "gold standard" to help teachers, schools, and organizations to measure, calibrate, and improve their practice. In Gold Standard PBL, projects are focused on student learning goals and include Essential Project Design Elements: Dealing With Students Who Bully: Part II Once I've reminded myself of my role and goal, I'm ready to deal with Jon, the student introduced in my last post, "Dealing With Students Who Bully: Part I (The Essential First Step)." The next few sentences are a challenge. I'd like to write something that my audience will like. Sorry to disappoint, but there is no magic bullet. If you have conquered your disappointment and continued reading, I can share two things that I always do when dealing with kids like Jon. Creating and maintaining a positive relationship with Jon is not a one-shot deal. The other thing I do with a student like Jon in this situation is to try to create (or explore if we have) a shared quality world picture. I don't begin by asking Jon, "What do you want?" This may sound strange, but it doesn't especially matter to me what Jon says. I have had countless interactions like this, and I have never had a student tell me that my goal is unreasonable. "OK, so we agree that it's reasonable to want a safe environment.

Experts & NewBIEs | Bloggers on Project Based Learning: PBL Design Deep Dive –What Products, and How Many? When designing a project, teachers frequently ask, “Should my students/teams create:The same product with the same focus or topic?”The same product, but with a different focus or topic?”A different product with the same focus or topic?"A different product, but with a different focus or topic?” As you have grown accustomed to in PBL, there is no ONE “right” answer to this question. The “same product with the same focus or topic” is often a good option in the elementary grades, or in the secondary grades when the project has a narrow scope of content and/or short duration. One project that fit this bill was a math project designed to teach systems of linear equations and processes to collect, organize and represent mathematical data. The teacher asked the driving question, “How can we develop an evidence-based recommendation to the White Rock Marathon Committee regarding the use of MP3 devices?” I worked with a teacher once who wanted to “PBLize” his persuasive writing unit.

Project-Based Learning Through a Maker's Lens The rise of the Maker has been one of the most exciting educational trends of the past few years. A Maker is an individual who communicates, collaborates, tinkers, fixes, breaks, rebuilds, and constructs projects for the world around him or her. A Maker, re-cast into a classroom, has a name that we all love: a learner. A Maker, just like a true learner, values the process of making as much as the product. Making holds a number of opportunities and challenges for a teacher. What Do You Want to Do? The first step in designing a PBL unit for a Maker educator is connecting specific content standards to the project. Choosing, thinking, reflecting, and sorting possible projects should be a career-long process. Essential Questions With an appropriate project chosen, an educator can begin framing the learner's journey. Making requires partners. Finally, an educator can start thinking about individual lessons. Failure Is a Preferable Option Good projects require failure.

Authentic Assessment: What You Can Do in 5 minutes, 5 days, 5 months, 5 years . . . The School of the Future (SOF) is a unique place. Its dedication to teaching through real-world tasks, checking on student progress often, and adjusting lessons based on a wide variety of assessments is delivering big dividends with increased student engagement and performance. And although these accomplishments did not occur overnight, we believe that other schools can see similar progress, even if they start small and build slowly. Below are some creative tips for teachers, administrators, and other educators to help your school begin this journey. In 5 minutes, you can determine what students are thinking and achieve any one, perhaps two, of the following: Make sure that the teaching objective for the day is assessable. In 5 days, you can determine what students know and prove it: In 5 weeks, you can assess if students are making progress toward mastery of the subject matter. In 5 months, you can reflect and refine your curriculum with guidance from an administrator or curriculum coach.

5 Things Every Teacher Should be Doing to Meet the Common Core State Standards The following blog post was written by Eye On Education's Senior Editor, Lauren Davis. To read more newsworthy blog posts from Eye On Education, subscribe to our Insights eNewsletters . At the NCTE convention in November, everyone was buzzing about the Common Core State Standards . Teachers wanted to know how the new standards will alter what they teach and how they teach it. To gather answers to those questions, I attended a variety of NCTE sessions, and I spoke to educators across the country. 1. ...to read the other four things every teacher should be doing to meet the CCSS, as well as more details and examples, download Eye On Education's free whitepaper: 5 Things Every Teacher Should be Doing to Meet the Common Core State Standards . Check out Eye On Education's other free whitepapers!

Renaming Fruits And Vegetables With Catchy Names Convinces Kids To Eat Them, Study Says Renaming fruits and vegetables with catchy, attractive monikers could more easily convince children to eat them, according to a new study. Researchers at Cornell University's Food and Brand Lab tested the likelihood that students at five ethnically and economically diverse schools schools would eat items dubbed "X-Ray Vision Carrots," "Power Punch Broccoli," "Tiny Tasty Tree Tops" and "Silly Dilly Green Beans" over the same foods labeled "Food of the Day." The results were overwhelming -- for instance, in one school 66 percent of the carrots labeled "X-Ray Vision Carrots" were eaten up versus the 32 percent when they were labeled "Food of the Day." In a release, the study's lead author Brian Wansink explained that the finding could provide a cheap solution to improving kids' diets: Of the 1,552 students involved 47.8% attended the treatment school. The Cornell findings aren't the first to suggest simple tweaks could add up to big changes in kids' diets. Also on HuffPost:

10 Practical Ideas For Better Project-Based Learning In Your Classroom By Jennifer Rita Nichols, TeachThought Intern Teachers are incorporating more and more projects into their curriculum, allowing for much greater levels of collaboration and responsibility for students at all levels. Project- based learning is a popular trend, and even teachers who don’t necessarily follow that approach still see the benefit to using projects to advance their students’ learning. Projects can be wonderful teaching tools. They can allow for a more student-centred environment, where teachers can guide students in their learning instead of using lectures to provide them with information. The increase in classroom technology also makes projects more accessible to students. Despite general agreement about the benefits of using projects and project-based learning in general, it must be noted that all projects are not created equal! This may happen fairly often because teachers are wary about being able to assign grades to the final assignments handed in to them by students.

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