Performance Assessment

Why and when would teachers choose to use performance assessments?

Performance assessment can provide opportunities for students to learn and show what they know and can do with the complex and high-level demands found in 21st century education outcomes. Cognitive science research is suggesting that revealing what a learner truly understands is a complex undertaking; performance assessment can help to provide the multiple opportunities learners need to apply learning in real-world and relevant contexts.

Performance assessment is the “item type” of choice when performance in context is being assessed and when the teacher is seeking to create opportunities for authentic demonstrations of

products and performances and application of knowledge and skills requiring higher order thinking. Most students find performance assessment motivating and engaging, and teachers appreciate investing in opportunities that permit students to show what they know and can do.

Website users will find short articles, and position papers defining performance assessment and explaining why it is an essential tool to advance a 21st century education. Also highlighted are websites that are repositories of performance assessments, research about performance assessment and related issues or “how to’s of constructing performance assessments.

It’s estimated in the three years from 1999-2002 the amount of new information produced in the world approximately equaled the amount produced in the entire history of the world previously.

~School of Information Management and Systems, University of CA, Berkeley, 2010.

Schools must teach students how to learn so they can use knowledge in new and novel contexts and manage the demands of 21st century life.

We’ve assembled more resources for this topic below.

Assessing the Learning That Matters Most: Bright Points of Light Challenges Taking it Forward, Institute for the Future of Learning

The appendices in this paper include many current resources that support the development and implementation of performance assessment.

Jay McTighe’s website

Jay McTighe’s website generously offers many free tools and templates to guide development of performance assessment.  Under "Resources", he also provides dozens of links to other websites that house performance tasks or provide guidance for development.

Learning Point – Performance Assessment

Performance assessment is defined, and its use described, in this Learning Point.

MAEIA Project–Model Assessments

This site offers a catalogue of 360 curriculum-embedded performance events and tasks for K-12 fine arts teachers in disciplines of dance, theatre, visual arts and music.

National Core Arts Standards, SEADAE, 2014.

This site includes the national core arts standards, for Dance, Media Arts, Music Theatre and Visual Arts and Model Cornerstone Assessments based on the artistic processes of creating, performing, producing/presenting, responding and connecting. The model assessments are performance assessments.

Reimagining College Access: Performance Assessments From K-12 through Higher Education, Learning Policy Institute, 2018

Measuring mastery of deeper learning skills required for college and career-readiness necessitates using performance assessment, portfolios, capstone projects. This site provides models, links research and highlights intersections to policy.

Using the MAEIA Assessments to Determine Educator Effectiveness

This paper describes how educators can use performance assessment data to demonstrate their effectiveness.

Website: Assessment and Teaching of 21st Century Skills

This project was funded by Cisco, Intel and Microsoft. The project concluded in 2012 and resulted in a repository of new forms of assessment designed to begin fundamental changes in how education is approached worldwide.

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