How does an instructor grade a PBL activity? Unlike traditional quizzes, tests and even many laboratory activities, there’s no “right” or “wrong” answer in PBL.
The PBL Projects approach to assessing student learning includes four separate measures: content knowledge, conceptual knowledge, problem-solving ability
Content knowledge is assessed by content quizzes specific to each PBL Challenge. A question bank in the Assessment link contains problems and questions similar to those found at the back of most textbook chapters. These can be used as end-of-activity homework or quiz.
Concept mapping assesses conceptual knowledge, requiring students to develop linkages among concepts used to develop a solution. This is an excellent way to spot misconceptions and to illustrate ties between seemingly disparate concepts. The PBL Projects team has created an introduction to concept mapping for those not familiar with the process.
Problem-solving ability is assessed by a final Challenge report. Upon completion of a PBL Challenge, students reflect upon and provide a detailed summary of each stage of the problem-solving process in which they have engaged. The Final Challenge Report represents a synthesis of the knowledge, skills, and strategies employed in solving the PBL challenge.
A common concern with group work is the problem of “social loafers” who don’t do their part to solve the problem. The PBL Projects developed a team assessment that requires students to assess their teammates’ contributions as well as their own on several measures. Handed out at the start of a Challenge, it reminds students that their efforts as part of a team will be graded.
The final grade for a project can be calculated by applying a weight (of the instructor’s choosing) to each of the four measures, as shown in the graphic.