Managing Student Progress on Projects

Posted on 02.28.2013

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For the past 4 years I have been trying to figure out ways to help students take ownership of their projects and keep track of the progress while doing them.  From a teacher’s perspective, it’s hard to keep track of what each student did each day and give them feedback on their progress.  At the end of a project, it’s simply hard to remember.

The challenge is: how can we make the process transparent between student and teacher during a project.

At the start of every project I have each student create an individual progress chart.

Day Date Goal(s) How it went Feedback

At the beginning of each project day I work with students to fill in the goal for that day. Sometimes I give it to them, other times we create it together.  As students work I can circulate, answer questions and give feedback on their progress by writing notes in the last column.  Often, I simply put a word or check, check +/-.  Often, towards the end of class I ask them to show me if they met their goal and then give additional feedback.  This keeps students on task during the project.  I collect these sheets at the end of the project and, depending on the project type, use this towards their project process grade, or give them a HW or Classwork grade for their work.

It creates openings to have a conversation about behavior, focus, time-management and a whole slew of other topics.  Sometimes, we set a HW goal and that goes on this sheet as well.  It’s easy for me to spot-check their work the next day and give them feedback on the form.

When students work in groups they create a group progress sheet that one person is in charge of for the whole project.

Group Progress ChartIt’s easy to make: a student takes out a blank piece of paper and folds it into fourths.  After they unfold it, you have 4 boxes and they simply draw a box in the middle.

Every day, a member (usually the facilitator) adds to the chart.  The idea is, that when someone contributes something worth while then they get a note written in the box.  When the group gets a step done, they write that in the middle box.

Students take comfort in knowing that there is an objective way for them to report who does what.  There are fewer problems about delegating work because students have a visual on who is doing what.  It’s also very easy for me to take a quick scan of who is contributing.

At the end of the project, I ask students to fill out a reflection sheet about the project.  On the other side of the reflection sheet is their rubric where I write their grade.  I ask the students to staple their progress chart(s) to the rubric so it’s all in one spot.  It’s easy for me then to see who contributed what and how the student managed their time.

Next steps

My newest mantra is “what does it mean to do something well” – in this case; managing the parts of a project and contributing to a group.  I’d like to create two things:

  1. checklist for daily member contributions
  2. process for goal setting – maybe another checklist?
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Posted in: Methods, PBL, projects