Applying standards-based grading to project-based learning is challenging — but it can be done
- Seventh-grade social studies teacher Matt Weyers writes for Edutopia on four strategies he's used to incorporate standards-based assessments in a project-based learning environment in a way that is personalized and fair.
- Teachers can prepare for standards-based grading by creating well-defined learning scales from the standards and then designing leveled assessments that correlate with those, designing, for example, questions that are progressively more difficult at each level.
- Standards-based grading can be combined with project-based learning if instructors map the learning scales to the projects on a curriculum map for the year, and if they separate individual assessments from group grades in the interest of fairness.
Edutopia defines project-based learning as “a dynamic classroom approach in which students actively explore real-world problems and challenges and acquire a deeper knowledge.” Project-based learning offers a lot of advantages to students in terms of student engagement, practical knowledge and building critical thinking skills. However, assessing PBL can create a challenge for teachers.
Many schools see the answer in standards-based grading. However, this method takes effort on the part of the teacher and requires clear communication with parents, who are sometimes frightened by the new assessment model. Standards-based grading has its own set of advantages and disadvantages, but often allows for a growth mindset because it makes room for the reteaching of concepts. Though standards-based assessments are a popular approach to project-based learning, there are other assessment options as well. Finding the best fit for each school is part of the challenge and the beauty of the process.
- Edutopia Standards-Based Assessment in PBL