In best-practice examples of project-based learning, effective projects will:
- Engage the interests and ambitions of both students and teachers. Offer intrinsic value or interest to students and to the community.
- Provide students with multiple points of entry. They can be “scaffolded” in order to allow students to work at their own level and toward more advanced stages.
- Engage student creativity while infusing academic content into its structure, potentially including state standards.
- Define expectations and responsibilities, setting clear goals and parameters of evaluation.
- Identify multiple milestones in constructing a project plan, with feedback and evaluation cycles built-in.
- Establish expectations to be rendered and presented at professional-level quality.
- Build on successes and public visibility of prior projects. As teachers and students see examples of effective projects, their confidence grows, along with ambition and community expectation. This growth of significance supports a culture where students and teachers feel ownership and pride in their level of work.