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On Demand Tests and Quizzes

Students sit for a timed assessment that utilizes various standardized question types

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Projects as Reward or Extension of Learning

Students complete a fun project at the end of a unit separate from their unit assessment

Projects as Product/ Assessment of Learning

Students participate in a fun and informative project at the end of a unit

Project-Based Learning as Assessment for Learning

Students complete a project throughout the course of the unit to both attain and demonstrate proficiency

Process Assessments and Performance Tasks

Students complete assessments over time that may be completed in phases

Portfolios and Defenses of Learning

Students collect and reflect on various artifacts of learning to demonstrate proficiency


Growing equitable practices

This graphic offers information to deepen assessment practice and create more equitable opportunities for students to demonstrate their learning.

Explore Math Performance TasksExplore Science Performance TasksExplore History Performance Tasks

Process and performance assessments allow students to engage with content in a more authentic way. Tasks should mirror the types of skills an expert in a particular discipline would use, and can be done either on demand or over time. For example, in an English class this might look like a process essay where students are researching, drafting, receiving feedback, and revising their writing. In a science class, this might involve an on demand assessment analyzing a data set and constructing an explanation. Explore this article and podcast for a great explanation of performance assessments and how to get started.

Digging Deeper

Process and Performance Assessment

  • Learn more about how to identify a "dessert" vs "main course" project
  • Understanding projects vs project-based learning
  • Is your project a grecian urn?

Most teachers, at some point or another, have created opportunities for students to engage in a fun project at the end of a unit.These projects usually extend the learning by allowing students to apply some concepts separately from a unit assessment. While these projects can be a fun and engaging way to end a unit and can even expose students to different ways of applying their learning, they are typically not central to the learning or assessment process. PBL Works would call these projects "dessert", not "dinner".

or Extensions of Learning

Projects as Reward

  • After students learn the essential knowledge and skills, they apply learning to a task
  • The task may involve real world scenarios or rich content specific experiences

Projects as end of unit performance assessment iis a great way to take your project practice to the next level.Remember, performance tasks are generally engaging and meaningful to students and are also robust opportunities for students to demonstrate learning. When projects are used as assessment, they usually take the place of traditional unit exams. They allow students to demonstrate the learning outcomes of the unit of study they have just completed.

End-Unit Project Assessments

Project as Product

11 Essentials for Excellent Digital PortfoliosExplore sample portfolios across contentCheck out this example of a portfolio reflection and self-assessment for English 9

Portfolios can make grading more equitable by providing students with the opportunity to demonstrate their learning in multiple ways. Students can showcase their skills and knowledge in a variety of formats such as written assignments, presentations, and projects. This allows teachers to assess students’ learning more accurately and fairly, as students can demonstrate their comprehension of the material in ways that may not be reflected in traditional tests and quizzes. Additionally, they provide teachers with a more comprehensive understanding of a student’s progress and achievements over the course of a semester or year. This can help reduce the effect of any one test or assignment on a student’s overall grade.

Personalized Assessment

Portfolios and Defenses of Learning

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Here you can include a relevant fact to highlight

  • Students are asked "What makes us my identity?
  • Students participate in lessons to explore issues of identity and learn essential writing, speaking and listening, and other content area skills.
  • Students present their learning to an authentic audience.

Project-Based Learning is structure that holds space for instruction as well as assessment. Instead of simply adding a project to an existing unit design, PBL asks students to sustain inquiry on a Driving Question throughout the redesigned unit.Think of PBL as a container for the full learning and assessment experience. Through true PBL, students both learn the content and demonstrate proficiency of the identified essential learning outcomes. Lessons, formative practice, and summative assessments are all incorporated as elements of the project.

Project is the Process

Project-Based Learning

Here you can include a relevant fact to highlight

Some handy tools: Google FormsCanvas QuizzesPear DeckSocrative

On Demand Tests and Quizzes are an excellent tool to get occasional point-in-time snapshots of student learning. These shouold include a variety of question types such as multiple choice, matching, or short answer. When done well, they provide valuabe information to the teacher on where students are and what instructional next steps might be. They also add a layer of accountability to the learning, and are quick and easy for teachers to grade. As they mostly assess DOK 1 & 2, it is best to use on demand tests and quizzes alongside more in depth assessments, and/or as formative assessments to differentiate instruction.

Checking for Understanding

On Demand Tests and Quizzes

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Self-check for Grecian Urns:

  • Does student work produce grade-level evidence of a standards-aligned learning outcome?
  • Am I giving points based on creativity or other non-academic criteria?
  • Are students mostly engaged in low-level DOK levels of thinking?

Before we get into it, let's agree on this: there is space for fun in school. Even fun in assessment.That said, there are projects that exist squarely as a fun extension of the learning. These projects are more difficult to leverage as authentic, rigorous, reliable assessments.Cult of Pedagogy author Jennifer Gonzalez calls these Grecian Urn Lessons.

"Not all hands on work is created equal"

Projects as Reward

Read or listen to the full article on "Grecian Urns"

Can I still do fun things? YES! (Please!) Fun projects can often, mostly easily, be revised to integrate essential learning outcomes.