Assignment and projects
An assignment is a task given to students to embark on, within a given time frame, to complete. The student is given a theme with a set of questions to formulate and develop an assignment paper (project). The student is expected to work by using research information using the library information resource, newspaper, personal interview, or any written or electronic information.
The student is expected to work in her/his own time to complete an assignment. Because of the nature, attitude and behaviour of such scope of work, the student is prone to plagiarism. It is therefore important that the student or facilitator provides close scrutiny, and supervision by establishing close contact and provide continuous consultation access and support for the student.
The objective of an assignment is to satisfy the following requirement needs. The assignment is expected to:
- develop research, observation and recording skills
- make economic or social use of limited resources
- enable students to achieve some of the course objectives
- encourage students to use a range of think skills
- design in order to assess and mark smoothly
- be able to mark across the grade collectively
Marking criteria must be devised beforehand.
The teacher must work out a detailed marking plan scheme. The total number of marks and the allocation to each part of the assignment must be decided beforehand. Part of the assignment must be capable of being marked objectively. Where subjective marking is required the following criteria will be useful:
A carefully planned assignment is a useful means of testing the student’s ability to integrate different skills. Assignment should be planned by groups of teachers, rather than individuals. It is better not to use this technique for official internal assessment if you lack the expertise to plan.
A project is similar to an assignment except it requires more involvement from both student and teacher. Typically, the student is given a topic which has to be researched, or she/he may be asked to prepare and present an illustration talk or produce an art portfolio. It can integrate many skills.
Often, projects are planned for groups of students because of lack of relevant resources. There lies one of the problems in assessing group projects. How many students have actually contributed to the project and how many are simply “passengers”?
The more involved the teacher becomes the less likely is it that the project will be a true reflection of the student’s own work.
Designing and programming the project
The student has to be guided to carrying out some research, doing some background reading and collecting relevant information. The student is then expected to produce a work plan and program which should be submitted before he/she is allowed to continue.
Reporting the Result of the Project
The student has to defend her/his conclusions summary of the performance of the project. The conclusion involves the advantages and disadvantages, on other words, the positives and the negative implications.
The interviewer interviews the students concerned and attempts to determine the extent of the student’s involvement in the project, what she or he has learnt and critique the students attitude. As a continuing or progressive project, any change to improve the quality and relevancy of the project by the student’s input is important in order to produce the aim and objective of the project.
Project work is not easy to assess and requires a great deal of teacher involvement. It is therefore important to consult another colleague for technical and professional support. If there is technical doubt, it is wise to take into account that the assessment technique should be used with care. A great deal of background knowledge is expected from the teacher.