Formative assessment plays a crucial role in project-based learning (PBL), offering educators the means to monitor student learning and inform the ongoing learning process. In contrast to summative assessments, which evaluate student learning at the end of an instructional period, formative assessments are integrated throughout PBL activities. This allows for real-time insights into students’ understanding, skills, and needs, enabling educators to tailor their instruction to support continuous learning and growth.
With PBL’s emphasis on in-depth exploration and student-driven projects, traditional testing methods often fall short in capturing the full breadth of students’ skills and knowledge. Formative assessment strategies in PBL must therefore be diverse and dynamic, providing multiple opportunities for students to demonstrate learning in various contexts. As students engage with real issues or problems and co-construct shared artefacts, formative assessments—whether through observation, dialogue, or project milestones—become vital to guide and enhance both the learning experience and outcomes.
Educators have a plethora of assessment approaches at their disposal within PBL: individual assessments of team products, role-based evaluations, and weighted scoring. Their implementation requires careful consideration to ensure they complement the collaborative and complex nature of project work. By integrating these varied strategies, teachers can offer more personalised feedback, promote student self-assessment, and ultimately contribute to a richer, more effective learning process.