Assessing by Capstone Project

Overview

Final year students, when making the transition from university to the workplace or to further study, need to make sense of the learning they've gained throughout their whole program of study.
Many universities have introduced "capstone" projects or courses, which have the dual benefit of:

  • helping students synthesise their learning across the program, demonstrate holistically their development of graduate capabilities and successfully negotiate the transition to their next career stage, and
  • enabling the institution to assess final graduate capabilities for a program.

A capstone project involves an authentic, project-based activity that closely relates to professional work in the field. In completing it, students must apply the discipline knowledge and capabilities they have learned, as well as generic skills. A capstone project could incorporate, for example:

  • work-integrated learning placements
  • other immersive learning experiences such as study tours, service learning, volunteering, virtual simulations
  • case analysis
  • interdisciplinary project work.

For a capstone project, the course developer often negotiates with the student to determine the form and process of the task and its assessment. Students often compile portfolios for the purposes of assessment.

Additional information