A Project is a good way to assess students' ability to APPLY their learning to a real-life-like scenario (either teacher-assigned or student-selected). A good project tests students' knowledge, understanding and critical analysis of content, and also demands reasoned, relevant, and thoughtful, decision-making, communication skills and creativity. Because projects can take a variety of forms, be sure to set down clear parameters for the expected process and product.

What is a Project?

Projects can encompass all sorts of forms and formats. It is any discrete undertaking that generally has some form of virtual, paper, video, or actual artifact. In many cases the process is equally important. Possible artifacts include:

  • Research project write-up
  • Video
  • Website
  • Software
  • Art
  • Help guide
  • Lab instructions
  • Script
  • Photographs with write-ups
  • PDF documents
  • Booklet
  • Brochures
  • Implementation plan, marketing strategy

The applications are many.

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Must-Dos for Grading Projects and Presentations

(from Teaching Resources)

“To ensure a fair and painless grading process:

Make sure you have given students explicit guidelines for the assignment and consider preparing a grading checklist or “score sheet” (see below) based on these guidelines.This guideline can include anything from assignment length, to use of sources, to overall creativity in these guidelines. Whether or not you return this score sheet to your students is up to you; however, students always appreciate (and deserve) some comments explaining the grade."

Grading Criteria

A good project demonstrates the following:

  • knowledge of key concepts
  • analysis of the relations among key concepts
  • application of the key concepts to solving a problem
  • critical thinking skills to support decision-making
  • clear, concise, organized, engaging communication

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List of Possible Criteria for Grading Projects:

(Choose criteria relevant to your teaching situation and assign marks accordingly)

  • Introduction:

    • Clear statement of question
    • Clear and relevant formulation of the problem statement and research questions
    • Relevance of question to course subject matter
    • Context and content of the subject
    • Originality, depth, and plausibility of question
    • Scientific originality/relevancy
    • Understanding and reviewing the subject matter
    • Use and selection of suitable literature
    • Support for question with relevant literature
    • Theoretical underpinning
    • Demonstrating interdisciplinary focus
  • Project Design:

    • Clear and complete statement of methods
    • Implementation of design, discussion of limitations
    • Appropriate gathering, processing and interpretation of data
    • Appropriateness of field methods for question
    • Initiative and creativity
    • Organization and presentation of results
    • Logical presentation of results – e.g. progression of key points
  • Processes:

    • Heuristics (creating and adjusting a realistic plan)
    • Keeping to planning and deadlines
    • Adequately responding to supervisor's comments/feedback
    • Independence and learning skills
    • Cooperation
    • Self-assessment
    • Critical reflection
    • Commitment and perseverance
    • Effort
    • Overall participation in project
  • Analysis, Discussion & Conclusions:

    • Analysis – Clear understanding of your field results
    • Scientific interpretation of results
    • Critical reflections on the research performed
    • Clarity of conclusions and recommendations
    • Discussion of implications – tie back to Intro and literature
    • Implications for future research
    • Readability/accessibility/use of language in the report
  • Report:

    • Structure – descriptive title, organization of sections, etc.
    • Composition
    • Quality of narrative style
    • Grammar – spelling, paragraph & sentence structure, etc.
    • Consistent & complete citation format in text and Literature Cited slides.
    • Filename following prescribed format
  • Presentation/Media use:

    • PowerPoint Presentation – Visual Clarity and Technical Aspects
    • Course name, etc. on slide // Presentation author, title, keywords, etc. in notes
    • Slide (& handout, if any) layout – text readability, graphics clarity (labels, legends), etc.
    • Avoid animations and sounds
    • Grammar on slides – spelling, paragraph & sentence structure, etc.
    • Oral presentation skills
    • Clarity of presentation
    • Timing
    • Engagement of theaudience
    • Interaction with the audience
    • Formulating clear answers to audience’s questions
    • Dialectic discussion in response to audience questions (thesis/antithesis/synthesis)


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