Rethinking Assessment: Using Project-Based Learning to Assess Student Learning


  • Laura Shelton Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools
  • Brooke Langston-DeMott University of North Carolina, Greensboro



Project-based learning, assessment, engagement, motivation


In which of these classrooms does the most authentic learning take place? Which one provides a more motivating experience? Which classroom provides a well-rounded picture of student understanding of the content? The description of Ms. Magby's classroom is one where project-based learning (PBL) is being implemented--students are engaged, motivated, and learning! As educators, who like Ms. Magby, have seen many academic and motivational benefits to students engaged in PBL, the authors of this paper want to encourage educators to incorporate this approach to teaching and learning in their own classrooms. The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of PBL, describe its benefits for students and help educators think about ways to implement PBL while using PBL as a tool for assessing student understanding. In the following pages we first describe PBL, synthesizing definitions from the literature. We then discuss the ways PBL benefits students, discussing both cognitive and motivational benefits. Next, we address the teacher's role and provide examples of how educators can implement PBL in their classrooms. Finally, we share how teachers can assess PBL through the development of rubrics and the use of formative and post assessments.


Author Biographies

  • Laura Shelton, Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools

    Laura Shelton ([email protected]) recently earned a Masters of Arts in Teaching from the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. She is currently a fifth grade teacher in Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools. Laura's writing interests include project-based learning, arts integration, and student inquiry.

  • Brooke Langston-DeMott, University of North Carolina, Greensboro

    Brooke Langston-DeMott ([email protected]) is a former elementary school teacher. She is currently a doctoral candidate at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. Her research focuses on critical literacy, gender, and elementary school teachers and students. She also supervises student interns, teaches language arts methods courses, and is interested in project-based learning. 

Rethinking Assessment: Using Project-Based Learning to Assess Student Learning






Research and Practitioner Articles

How to Cite

Shelton, L., & Langston-DeMott, B. (2016). Rethinking Assessment: Using Project-Based Learning to Assess Student Learning. Georgia Journal of Literacy, 39(2), 24-32.

Similar Articles

1-10 of 68

You may also start an advanced similarity search for this article.

Most read articles by the same author(s)

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 > >>