PBL Midpoint Conference

Want to help students improve the quality of their projects through self-assessment and collaboration? Try a PBL Midpoint Conference
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About This Strategy

The PBL Midpoint conference is a strategy that allows the teacher to meet with each collaborative group, using the project rubric, to help students collaboratively assess the quality and progress of their work. Utilizing the project rubric, the students collaboratively self-assess the work and contributions they are making to the project, and they discuss with the teacher their vision for the project and the progress they are making toward that vision. The teacher also has an opportunity to acknowledge exemplary components of the project and discuss any adjustments or revisions that may need to be made to the project.

Implementation Steps

20 minutes
  1. Have students reference the Comprehensive PBL rubric, included as a resource below or available as a strategy in the BetterLesson lab, or another project rubric they were given at the beginning of the project. Explain to students that you will have a meeting with each group to look at the project they are working on in comparison to the rubric they were given. Instruct students that meetings will last 5-10 minutes with each group. All other groups should continue working on their project while the teacher is holding group conferences.

  2. Before meeting with each group, give each group a blank Comprehensive PBL rubric or project rubric. Have the students work together to score themselves based on the work they are doing and what their plans are for the project. Inform students that their self-evaluation will be compared to the teacher evaluation for any measurable differences and for a midpoint project grade.

  3. Rotate around the room to each group with a blank Comprehensive PBL rubric or project rubric for each group. Fill out a rubric for each group as a teacher evaluation using the following procedure:

    • Ask one specific student from the group to summarize what work they are doing to complete their project or to summarize what the group's project is.

    • Once that student has finished summarizing the work, ask the rest of the group if there is any information they would like to add. Make notes of the group's summary and responses on the rubric.

    • Try to point out at least three specific pieces or areas of the project that are on target or progressing well in regards to the rubric. Sentence starter ideas for this include:

      • I really like how you have…

      • This is really interesting because…

      • The group demonstrates creativity here by…

      • The group should feel really proud about...

    • Conversely, try to address at least three specific pieces or areas of the project that are not on target or that need improvement or revision. Make notes of suggestions on the group rubric. Sentence starter ideas for this include:

      • One question I have around the work on this project is…

      • I wonder if there are adjustments you could make to…

      • Have you considered…

  4. Collect the group's self-assessment rubric and compare their responses and reflections to the teacher-assessed rubric. Attach both rubrics together, and then provide students with a final midpoint score and quick reflection for the group. Give the students time in class to look at both rubrics and the teacher reflection, and provide an opportunity to ask any follow-up or clarifying questions before continuing their work on the project.

Questions to Consider

  1. How could you use midpoint rubrics to support your students to analyze their data prior to reaching conclusions?
  2. How could you use a midpoint rubric to support your students as they develop an evidence-based solution to a design problem?
  3. How could using a midpoint rubric help your students explicitly assess scientific arguments or design problems?
  4. How could using midpoint rubrics help your students use argumentation to listen to, compare, and evaluate competing ideas or design solutions and methods based on their merits?

Tech Tools

Google Docs

  1. Google Docs is an online word processor (part of Google Apps) that allows you create and edit documents collaboratively in a web browser. 
  2. Google Docs supports this strategy by allowing the teacher to create individual rubrics for each student and track/document their progress throughout the PBL. 

Related Lessons

Explore the Culminating Project - Stop Animation Video lesson by 9th grade Science teacher Emilie Hill included in the resources below to see how she uses a midpoint rubric and small group conferences to discuss work completion and to help students self-assess the quality of their projects.