In evaluating student projects, rubrics and portfolios are effective tools, as well as student peer and self evaluations. A rubric provides students with a tangible framework so they know what is required and gives the teacher a straightforward method of evaluation. Portfolios are a collection of student work that lend themselves to content areas where a teacher looks for progress over time. Portfolios may be a physical folder or a digital e-portfolio. Take student feedback into account and encourage students to complete self and peer evaluations. A combination of project evaluation methods can be used successfully in all grade levels.
State the project objective. Describe the purpose of the project, such as the school science fair.
Explain required content. Be specific. For example, a history project may require that the student includes three reasons why the English colonized Jamestown. A science fair project must include all five steps of the scientific method.
Include state standards for the subject area.
Review the rubric with the class.
Decide whether a portfolio is suitable for the subject area and long-term class goals.
Determine whether the portfolio will be a physical folder or a digital e-portfolio.
Create portfolio rubric. Include objectives of the long-term portfolio.
Review portfolio expectations with the class.
Decide on the format of the final presentation for either the single project or portfolio. It could be a PowerPoint presentation, visual poster, skit or speech.
Demonstrate the presentation format for the final project. Show a sample project from a previous class or create an example for the class.
Encourage creativity and student individuality in a final presentation. For speeches or skits, students can record their presentations as part of a digital portfolio.
Create forms for self evaluations and team peer evaluations. Students will fill these out individually.
Ask how student responsibilities were allocated and how each team member contributed if they were part of a group project.
Ask students for both individual and group projects what areas they found most challenging and to give themselves a grade.
Use the project or portfolio rubric as a check list.
Use peer and self evaluations as part of the final grade.
Assign points to each section to determine a final grade.
- Education Resources Information Center: Creating Rubrics through Negotiable Contracting and Assessment
- Education Resources Information Center: Digital Portfolios: Documenting Student Growth
- Education Resources Information Center: Fast and Reliable Evaluation of Preservice Teacher Electronic Portfolios
- Send a copy of the project rubric or portfolio plan home to parents. Require a parent signature.
- Offer a series of deadlines to help students stay on track, such as separate due dates for research notes, rough drafts or rehearsals, and final presentations.
- Contact the library media specialist to arrange library research times or a special lesson in bibliography formats and citations.
Sheila Lamb has been writing professionally since 2003, in a wide variety of genres including Web content, educational curricula, creative nonfiction and fiction. She has been published in "Silent Voices," "Flagstaff Live" and "Joyful." She has a Master of Education degree and is a certified social studies teacher.