Module 3

Three approaches to students assessment

There are three major approaches to student assessment, and the purpose of each.

The first of these is “summative assessment”, also referred to as assessment of learning. Summative assessment refers to tests or examinations that are used to make summary judgments of student performance. These are the tests that students take at the end of a learning unit, at the end of a school year, or at the end of secondary school.

The second approach to assessment is known as “formative assessment”. This is sometimes referred to as assessment for learning. Formative assessment is the kind of “real time” assessment teachers use to understand how well learners understand a new concept or are to apply a new skill – and provide the learner with feedback on what they still need to do to meet the learning objective. The teacher may adjust teaching approaches to meet learning needs more effectively. An assessment is considered as formative once the gap has been closed and the student has met the objective.

Both summative and formative assessments are focused on whether students have achieved the learning objectives outlined in curriculum and standards. These assessments are typically criterion-referenced. In other words, there are specific criteria by which to gauge learning performance.

A third kind of assessment is student self-assessment, also known as ipsative assessment, which focuses on the student’s personal development. Progress is measured against the student’s prior performances – so it is a self-referential approach. This approach is particularly appropriate for key competences that do not have a pre-defined learning objective – such as transversal skills of creativity, initiative, or the constructive management of feelings.


Any assessment, whether summative, formative or self-assessment, needs to be valid, reliable and fair.

  • Validity means that the assessment effectively measures what it is intended to measure.
  • Reliability refers to the extent to which the assessment is consistent and accurate over time, or across a large number of students.
  • Fairness refers to the need to consider factors that could influence the assessment – such as a noisy environment that interrupts the student concentration, or assessments that systematically favour one group over another, such as girls vs. boys.

Assessments of key competences need, for example, to measure students’ reasoning processes, understanding of interconnections, and ability to perform complex tasks. A number of new assessments, including portfolios and e-assessments provide more effective measures of students’ key competence development. However, more work is needed to support reliability of these kinds of assessments.


Designing a collaborative problem based task or project:

1. Define the problem or collaborative project.

2. Identify project elements and components in detail;

3. For each component identify the resources that are essential. These can be:

a. materials

b. equipment

c. strategies

d. knowledge

e. experience

4. Allocate to each participant non-overlapping, unique sets of resources necessary to be contributed to the project completion or problem resolution. Divide the resources amongst the participants with no shared or common resources.

5. Clearly state the goals of the task or problem solution and observed to students procedure in the task.

6. Explain to the participants that they must identify the problem, sort out a strategy to resolve the problem or complete the task

7. The students also need to develop a means of keeping records of their decisions and discussions. For face-to-face attempts at collaborative problem-solving or collaborative project work keeping records is an essential aspect of the assessment process.




When the teachers act as observers they need to focus on, and document their observations of students’ activities and demonstrations of specific skills. In this way the teacher can informally assess a student’s development and identify the appropriate intervention for scaffolding the skills that are described in the dimensions of collaborative problem-solving.



Two dimensions – social and cognitive dimensions

  SOCIAL:                                                                                             COGNITIVE:                            




The important change in assessing work of students is that gives


According to all what was said above some changes should be implemented in the external exams :





And some more materials on assessing and working with students :

20 Simple Assessment Strategies You Can Use Every Day






Module 2



Project-based learning is an approach which uses methods such as inquiry-based learning and problem-based learning to develop students’ competences.

Inquiry-based learning starts with questioning, continues with exploration and investigation and ends with finding a solution, drawing a reasonable conclusion, making a substantive decision or applying new knowledge or skills. It is often used to explore deep questions such as; Are all humans born free? Is democracy the ideal way to organise society? Students are encouraged to question arguments, information, ideas, opinions and viewpoints, to go deeper and generate new questions, which will lead them to new knowledge. And which will make them think and seek answers in a more complex way.

Such questions are:

  • “What was the most important cause of our city’s growth?”
  • “How can we best convince teenagers to be healthy eaters?”
  • „How can we design an airplane wing that is light and will support 25 pounds without breaking?”

Important fact is that answers to these questions can’t be found on Google without “digging” deeply.

The problem-based learning method is more practical. Students are given a real life problem to investigate, which can be described as an authentic problem and have to come up with possible solutions. It may be widely applied to all kinds of real life problems. The solutions can then be discussed and tested to see which will work best in a given situation, for example. How to provide the best care for elderly people in their own homes, How to improve access to public buildings.



Implementing the PBL approach in teaching requires a teacher to bear in mind a few practicalities before you start. Here are a few pointers a teacher need to think about, which can be considered as a preliminary checklist:

  • What is your project idea?
  • What is the time frame proposed?
  • Is the project idea manageable?
  • Is it a project just between you and your class or will you collaborate with other teachers in your school or in other countries
  • If it involves partners from other countries, what is the language proposed?
  • What subjects could be integrated into this project?
  • What technical tools, if any, will you use?
  • How does your project fit with the school planning and calendar?

Once the teacher has fulfilled the basics they are ready to start but should bear in mind the following 7 steps :

  • Step 1. Involve your students from the very beginning. Start with a guided exploration of some topics you have in mind as a whole class; but also be prepared to change if better ideas are emerging from the class. It is important to establish certain ground rules regarding behavior with them in advance.
  • Step 2. Having defined the topic, in discussion with the class break it down into different tasks. Discuss which technologies to use and how they will be integrated
  • Step 3. Plan well, set goals, define outcomes. Above all be concrete, students need goals to work towards and responsibility of tasks in order to achieve them
  • Step 4. Proceed to put pupils into small groups with responsibilities for a particular task. Encourage pupils to ask personally relevant and socially significant questions regarding the topics chosen. Work to the strengths of each pupil.
  • Step 5. Create a tangible artifact that addresses the issue, answers questions, and makes learning visible and accountable.
  • Step 6. Arrive at a conclusion…take a stand…take action.
  • Step 7. Document, justify, and share conclusion with larger audience. (parents, school etc)






Collaborative problem solving is a complex skill requiring both social and cognitive competencies:


In other words collaborative problem solving is a set of skills that we need to rely on when the capacities or resources of just one person are not sufficient to solve the problem. We need to learn how to combine different resources and skills when faced with complex problems.

from: Patrick Griffin & Esther Care


The Nature of collaborative problem solving:

The primary distinction between problem-solving by an individual and collaborative problem-solving is its social nature – the need for communication, exchange of ideas, shared identification of the problem and its elements, and negotiated agreement on connections between problem elements and relationships between actions and their effects. Collaborative problem-solving makes each of these steps observable, as they must be shared with a partner or other members of a group if a solution is to be successfully identified. These steps can be described as follows:

  1. A problem state must be jointly recognised, and collaborators must identify and agree on which elements of the problem each can control or monitor.
  2. A representation of the problem must be shared.
  3. Collaborators need to agree on a plan of action, including management of resources.
  4. Plans must be executed, which may require a coordinated effort by collaborators acting together or in sequence.
  5. Progress towards a solution must be monitored, different options evaluated, plans reformulated if necessary, and collaborators must decide on how to proceed in the face of positive or negative feedback.

Collaborative problem solving requires that the people combine their resources and their strategies in order to reach a common goal.

Collaborative problem solving is therefore defined as a joint activity where two or more people work together to contribute knowledge, skills, materials and procedures and move through a series of cognitive states that involve collection and analysis of information and the formulation of hypotheses that they jointly set out to test.


In designing a collaborative problem based task or project there are several steps:

  1. Define the problem or collaborative project.
  2. Identify project elements and components in detail;
  3. for each component identify the resources that are essential. These can be;
    1. knowledge
    2. materials
    3. strategies
    4. experience
    5. equipment;
  4. Allocate to each participant non-overlapping, unique sets of resources necessary to be contributed to the project completion or problem resolution. Divide the resources amongst the participants with no shared or common resources.
  5. Clearly state the goals of the task or problem solution and observed to students procedure in the task.
  6. Explain to the participants that they must identify the problem, sort out a strategy to resolve the problem or complete the task
  7. The students also need to develop a means of keeping records of their decisions and discussions. For face-to-face attempts at collaborative problem-solving or collaborative project work keeping records is an essential aspect of the assessment process.

Example of collaborative e-twinning project:

„Let Your Passions Shine”




Module 2 Learning Activity:

Design your own project to develop your students’ competences



DESCRIPTION: This learning activity requires you to design your own project to develop learners’ competences, using the principles and steps you have learned about in the video talks in Module 1 and 2.

OBJECTIVE: To design a project which you can implement with your students in or outside of the classroom, aimed at developing a range of competences. The project can be as limited and focused or as broad and ambitious as you like, depending on your context, experience, resources and constraints. The project can be focused on a topic within the subject you teach, or alternatively can include a range of subject areas; it can be with one or more classes or even schools, involving the local community or international partners. The important point is to bear in mind the key principles discussed in the video talks, as well as use the top tips suggested to ensure your project is designed to effectively develop a range of higher order skills, including collaborative problem solving, for example.

DEADLINE: Please complete this template by Sunday, 2 October, 23:59 CEST. It is preferable for you to complete this learning activity by this date, as it will help you benefit more from Module 3 of this course. However, should you not have time, or join the course at a later stage, you can submit your learning activity until Sunday 9 October 23:59 CEST.

SUBMISSION: To complete this learning activity you need to fill in this template and submit it, by clicking on the ‘hand-in task’ button in the ‘Learning Activity’ area.


  1. Think of a project idea: Think of a project you would like your students to work on to develop their competences. Think back to your self-assessment of the 10 key principles for teaching and assessing key competences you did in the Module 1 Learning Activity. You might like to focus your project idea around one or more of the principles you identified as currently being weakly or not at all present in your teaching. This is your opportunity to work on that gap in your current practice, allowing you to develop your own competences, as well as those of your students!
  2. Fill in the PBL Plan on pages 3-4: Once you have your project idea, fill in the Project Based Learning (PBL) Plan below which requires you to think of all the key dimensions involved in designing a competence-based project. Remember to provide any relevant links in your plan – this might be a link to an online space where you are planning your project, or it might a specific link to an organization you would like to partner with, or an example of an existing project you would like to adapt to your own context. Remember, to help you design your project and fill in the PBL Plan, you can:


Refer back to the following advice given in the course so far:

  1. a) The key principles for teaching and assessing key competences discussed by Caroline and Janet in videos 1.3.2 and 1.3.3.
  2. b) The preliminary checklist and 7 basic steps for designing a PBL activity, given by Anne in video 2.3.1
  3. c) The 4 top tips and 5 effective strategies given by Sandra, our Irish Mathematics teacher in video 2.3.3
  4. d) The suggested steps given by Patrick in video 2.3.2 on how to design a collaborative problem based project, as well as his related paper available below the video.
  5. e) Advice given in KeyCoNet’s Teacher Guide: Using Project-Based Learning to Develop Students’ Key Competences, as well as the other PBL resources provided in the Module 2 Library.


Access examples of PBL activities for inspiration:

eTwinning Project – Rainbow Village:




eTwinning Project – Let Your Passions Shine:




eTwinning Project – Pek, The Traveler Flea:




eTwinning Project – Health 4 Life:










DRIVING QUESTION/PROBLEM (Needs to be authentic, enable in-depth enquiry i.e. ‘non-Googleable’ and motivate students’ interest)


Looking for equality in Tricity


Learning about modern history of their region and thinking about democracy – preparing a PowerPoint presentation or a film
PROJECT ELEMENTS (Break down the problem into its various parts)


  1. Street game – questions and puzzles which are solved by groups of students lead them to some important places
  2. Discussion – what do they know?
  3. Giving ideas how to learn more: – interviews (even with parents); museums and open-air exhibition; internet
  4. Students create their works in groups during the lessons and outside school
  5. They ask questions before giving final works
  6. They present their final works
  7. They discuss about their works and self-assess their works after seeing the works of their peers
RESOURCES (What resources will you use and how will they be distributed between students? Will you use any technology?)


  1. I will prepare a street game
  2. I will show them open-air exhibition
  3. I will prepare some materials about the most important moments
TOPIC/SUBJECT/S (Will your project be focused on one specific subject or be transdisciplinary/cross-curricular?)


I teach English so they will use English language to present their knowledge of history. They will interview people. They will think about ethics and human rights
COMPETENCES/SKILLS (Will you develop a mixture of subject-based competences and transversal skills?)


They will look for the information, visit museum, interview, gather information and take photo, make a film or PP presentation


NUMBER OF STUDENTS AND TEACHERS INVOLVED (Will the project only involve the students in your class or also another class, or even more schools locally or further afield?)


Class ( 27 people)


WORKING LANGUAGE? (If it’s an international project will you use English or one or more other languages as the working languages for the project?)


English and Polish
PARTNERS? (Which partners will you work with, in and outside of school?)



TANGIBLE ARTIFACT (What will the students produce that addresses the issue, and makes learning visible and accountable?)


Film or PP presentation
PUBLIC AUDIENCE (Build in one or more opportunities for students to present their work to a wider audience, within or outside of school)


They will present their works to other classes and it will be uploaded to school internet magazine
COLLABORATIVE PROBLEM SOLVING (You can include a collaborative problem-solving component to your project, even if it is not the main focus. Remember to follow the steps presented in video 2.3.2 and to ensure you ask students to keep a record of their discussions and decisions when they are carrying out the collaborative problem-solving task)


Maybe I could ask them to think what “lesson” have the society learnt and if they can find any results of its history in nowadays life ( but maybe it is too difficult for 14/15 year-old students…
STUDENT CHOICES (Which choices are you giving to students in terms of how they work, how they use their time, the products to be made etc.?)


Which museum to go, how they use their time – they work during the lessons, during the street game but also on their own- individually and as a group. What resources they will use, and whom they will interview. They decide which city to choose Gdynia or Gdansk, and what photos take. They also can decide whether they want to make a film or PP presentation.
FEEDBACK & REVISION (Build in opportunities for students to receive feedback during the process from you, other colleagues/project partners or their peers. Ensure they have the time to incorporate this feedback to revise their way of working and final products before the end of the project)


They will have to show me 2 times the results of their work so I will be able to give them some feedback. I think they can say about their visit in the museums and interviews – to make other students think about that.


  1. List your questions and concerns: Indicate in the box below which of the PBL dimensions/project elements mentioned in the above PBL Plan you have any questions about, are not sure how to implement, or can already anticipate problems for. If you can think of possible solutions, mention these also. This has 2 purposes: a) it gives you the opportunity to reflect on which issues you need to further explore and get help on before being able to successfully implement your project with your students; and b) it gives you the opportunity to benefit from the advice of a fellow course participant who will read your questions and problems in the peer review activity and will try and answer on the basis of their professional experience and understanding of the course content covered so far.
I am not sure how to make it collaborative, also I am wondering if in this project they are really creative – maybe they should create something more like their own list of principles for ideal country.

Module 1

The key competence approach, with its emphasis on the application of knowledge in real world situations represents a significant departure from traditional content-based approaches where subjects are taught and assessed discretely. The main recommended approach to teaching key competences is through the provision of interactive learning environments in which learners can engage in practical, inquiry-based tasks. These environments present open-ended problems and challenges to be solved through debate, experimentation, exploration and creativity.



Simulating real world contexts has three main purposes:
–  it can motivate learners more than traditional approaches,
–  learners are more likely to remember concepts
– they discover on their own,
–  it provides a meaningful context for problem-based learning



Key Points on Assessing Key Competences

As there is a new approach to teaching teachers need to develop new approaches to assessment.

These include:

  • Summative assessment – that is the tests and examinations they design in order to assign course grades, or at the end of the school year.
  • Formative assessment – the kind of interactive assessment that takes place in the course of learning, where the information gathered can be used to adjust teaching and learning and better meet student needs.
  • And student self-assessment of progress toward the transversal competences. These are competences that do not have a learning “standard” – such as creativity, initiative and constructive management of feelings – but where it may be important for each student to track his or her development.

Key competence approach in school education varies in different countries in Europe

No country has made a complete shift to competence-based education, several countries have made significant progress. In addition to introducing legal and curricular frameworks for key competences, countries have used various strategies to foster a competence-based approach in the classroom. These include innovative partnerships, pilot projects, the monitoring and evaluation of new initiatives, dedicated funding and capacity building.

These are examples of Spain and Poland:


What do stakeholders think about key competences in education?

The important fact is that stakeholders agree that key competences of XXI century education are important and should be implemented.


Survey also shows that more and more teachers and head teachers are aware of what key competences are:


Module 1 Learning Activity:

Self-assess Your

Key Competence Approach!



DESCRIPTION: This first learning activity is a self-assessment exercise. We would like you to reflect on how aligned your current teaching and assessment methods are with the key competence approach.

OBJECTIVE: The objective of this learning activity is for you to better understand to what extent your teaching already involves a key competence approach, and in which areas you would like to make progress. Remember to take the time to reflect properly and to be honest with yourself. Assessing your starting point truthfully will help you make progress in modules 2 and 3 of this course, and enable you to improve your practice.

DEADLINE: Please complete and submit this template on the Teacher Academy platform by Sunday, 25 September, 23:59 CEST. It is preferable for you to complete this learning activity by this date, as it will help you benefit more from Modules 2 and 3 of this course. However, should you not have time, or join the course at a later stage, you can submit your learning activity until Sunday, 9 October, 23:59 CEST.

SUBMISSION: To complete this learning activity you need to fill in this template and submit it, by clicking on the ‘hand-in task’ button in the ‘Learning Activity’ area.



1a) To what extent does your teaching and assessment of learners currently involve the 10 key principles associated to the key competence approach? To refresh your memory of what each one entails, watch video 1.3.2 where the first 8 key principles about teaching are described, and video 1.3.3 where the final two principles about assessment are described. Next to each of the key principles in the box below insert one ‘X’ in the relevant column to indicate to what extent it is present in your teaching:



Not at all present Weakly present To some extent present Strongly present
1. Task-based


2. Interdisciplinary


3. Collaborative and individualized


4. Learner- and teacher-led


5. Technologically innovative


6. Take place both inside and outside of school


7. Involve collaboration with the wider community


8. Pay attention to the social and emotional aspects of learning


9. Classroom-based formative assessment


10. Student self-assessment of transversal skills




1b) Use the box below to explain in more detail any of the options you selected above. For example, if for key principle number 3 you opted for ‘to some extent’, explain whether this is because most of your teaching is teacher led and only sometimes learner-led, or vice-versa. You may also want to use this space to reflect on the factors which have prevented you from fully implementing these principles in your practice (OPTIONAL)


Task-based – I try to give students some more complicated problems to solve and present

Interdisiplinary – some of the tasks involve their knowledge of other subjects on which they have to base to prepare their projects

Collaborative and individual – I very often ask students to work collaboratively but leave them freedom to individualized their final work, and also sometimes I give students possibility to undertake individual tasks – they can choose their own subjects and ideas

Learner-and-teacher led – I have to admit that I rarely allow them to lead lessons

Technologically innovative – I very often ask them to create some works using new technology

We rarely work outside school

And I rarely involve wider community

I hope I try to create activities that involve social and emotional aspects of learning

I have to admit that assessment is the principle I have to work most as it is with collaboration with wider community





2) Choose one or more of the key principles which you selected above as being strongly or to some extent present in your teaching, and provide evidence of this. The evidence you provide can take a variety of forms. Some examples are provided below (the list is not exhaustive):

  • A simple written description of a few lines explaining how you currently are implementing or have implemented this principle in your teaching.
  • A lesson plan illustrating one or more of the principles in action
  • A link to a video showing classroom practice where some of the key principles are evident
  • A link to a presentation describing a project you did with students which involved some of these principles
  • Students’ work
  • A class/school blog or website


In the box below mention the principle you are providing evidence for, and insert your evidence (e.g. a short description, or a link to a video or presentation).

  1. I start lesson with a short news about a parrot which escaped from home and returns after 4 years but speaks Spanish and talks about Larry. I divide class into small groups and they create a story of the parrot while absent at home and the others create a story of Larry who met the parrot. Then students say their stories to each other which is really funny
  2. I explained students that they are going to prepare a film, folder, and a map of a place they want to invite us to. They look for the information, they create their own maps, they film interviews with “English people and tourists” who visited the places (they pretend to be those people). Students also prepare an advert of the place which they have to film. At the and of the project students present works to the class.
  3. Students were asked to prepare in groups lapbooks on the subjects they are interested in – there were works about computers, space, biology, genetics etc
  4. In e-twinning project students shared articles and photos of the topics