Additional thoughts on Assessment.
The way a PBL is facilitated in a classroom actually allows for more personalization than would be normally found in whole group class instruction. By allowing the instructor to move about and help the students as needed the instructor is also able to make formative assessments or assessment for learning, as he or she is monitoring and moving about. This process also requires that students learn to ask for direction when they need it, part of being responsible for one’s own learning an important skill. The teacher has the opportunity to assess for learning and can use what she learns during facilitation to adjust instruction to meet the needs of individuals or the entire group. This formative assessment is used to guide the instruction and for meeting the individual needs and differentiation as the teacher sees necessary.
Summative assessment or assessment of learning allows the the instructor to assure the students are learning the standards that the PBL is designed to teach. This is also what would often be used to measure the success of the PBL and could be compared to other classes learning the same standards in a more traditional classroom. It is important to consider not only the results of the learning of the standards but also the 21Century Standards learned and student satisfaction with the experience.
Self-assessment or assessment as learning is an important part of PBL. Students assess themselves and peers helping them learn further. PBL offers students the sense of ownership when choice, voice, and authenticity are part of the process. Self-assessment gives the students more ownership as well as building self-efficacy.