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Assessment Methods/Strategies - Project Work

Definition
There is no universally agreed definition of the term ‘project work’ however Henry
(1994) suggests that the following 6 criteria act as working definition:-
The Student:-
• usually selects the topic- from the subject area given by the teacher

• undertakes their own research to find the information


• presents an end product – usually a report and often for assessment
• undertakes an independent piece of work
The Project:-
• lasts over an extended period
The Teacher
• assumes the role of advisor

Projects can be practical –vocational, performance based or library based with the
focus being on individual project work

Advantages
• Can be highly motivating students are able to follow their own interest
• Can promote independent learning
• It encourages active learning
• Students can find their own level
• Can encourage the application of knowledge to practice and develop practical
skills (Reece and Walker 2007)
• Enhances study and key skills- e.g. research, analysis, evaluation, time
management, communication etc (Atherton 2010)
• For practical based projects can provide realistic situations for students (Henry
1994)

Disadvantages
• Can take a long time to complete and some students may lose interest,
enthusiasm and motivation (Bourner et al, 2001).
• Students may want to deviate from the teacher’s original instruction and it is hard
to keep the students on track (Seet, 2010).

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• Some students will need a lot of managing and support
• Need careful design if it is to work well
• Information and library services need to be available so that students will be able
to access the relevant resources
• Can be costly particularly for practical projects

• Projects often take longer to mark than a conventional assignment (Hargreaves,


2006:23).

Appropriate usage and Learning Style


• Good method of assessing the use of the higher cognitive skills –analysis,
synthesis and evaluation (Henry 1994)
• For practical projects can be a good method of assessing psychomotor skills
(Reece and Walker 2007)
• To have much value projects require a clear brief, given in writing, together with a
marking scheme which directs students where to put their major efforts and there
needs to be regular formative assessments (Atherton 2010)
• A recognised and realistic alternative to traditional exams (Reece and Walker
2007)
• Project work takes account of Visual, Audio and Kinaesthetic learners

• A student with disabilities may need a learning support tutor, writing length may
need to be reduced and more time may be needed to complete the project (Open
University, 2010 [online]).

References

Atherton JS (2010) Learning and Teaching; Assessment; projects (on-line) UK


available from http: www.learningandteaching.info/teaching/assessment_projects.htm
(Accessed 19/10/10)

Bourner , Jill et al (2001) First Year Undergraduate Experiences of Group Project


Work, Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 26 (1), 19-39.

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Hargreaves, G. EIAT Consultancy Ltd (2006) An Introduction to Assessment, The
Higher Education Academy – HE in FE: Teaching and Learning [online]. Available
from http://www.palatine.ac.uk/files/740.pdf [Accessed 13/10/2010].

Henry, J (1994) Teaching through projects. Kogan Page Limited

Open University (2010) Making Your Teaching Inclusive. Available from


http://www.open.ac.uk/inclusiveteaching/pages/inclusive-teaching/assessment.php.
[Accessed 13/10/2010].

Reece, I and Walker, S (2009) Teaching, Training and Learning (6th edition)
Sunderland; Business Education Publishers

Seet, L (2010) Evaluating Students Perceptions and Attitudes Towards Computer


Mediated Project Based Learning Environment: A Case Study, Learning
Environment Research, 13, 173 – 185.