It’s important to have a clear understanding of what benchmarks are in the PBL process. Reasons to use benchmarks could include, not limited to, the following:
- Benchmarks provide structure to the process of PBL.
- Benchmarks allow students to feel like they are making progress towards “solving the problem” of the project and keep students from feeling overwhelmed.
- Benchmarks provide intermediate deadlines and scaffold time management.
- Benchmarks model a problem-solving strategy used in many professional environments.
- Benchmarks provide opportunities for students to give and receive feedback.
- Benchmarks provide opportunities for students to construct and apply knowledge before the end of a project.
- Benchmarks provide facilitators an opportunity for assessment to see which groups and/or individuals are doing well and which groups and/or individuals might need more support.
The most important of these dot points is the first first. Benchmarks provide structure to the process of PBL. It provides direction for the students. For if we did not have benchmarks students will be left rudderless. If this happens then you will see students whom seem to be off task and you’ll also fins yourself explaining what students have to do more and more.
It is import to make sure that benchmarks are completed for every projects. When dealing with students that are new to the PBL process it would be advisable that the teacher sets the benchmarks. However if you have students that have been engaged with the PBL process for some time, consider them co-construct the benchmarks in the next steps process. This gives the students ownership of the PBL process and the project.