Crafting a Successful Performance Assessment
The validity of a performance task is essential to create an assessment
that is meaningful. Use the following criteria to evaluate each performance
task prior to using it. (Click here to download these criteria as a checklist)
of a Task
There are five basic steps to follow when formating a performance assessment
the main concepts and thinking skills you want to be the targets of
the assessment. The task title may not be created until later. In
a few works, state the background of the concept or topic being addressed.
the type of product you want the students to make. You may decide
to give students options or let them select the format for the product.
what purpose the product is intended to have. For example, is it meant
to inform, persuade, and/or motivate?
the procedures the students will use. First, you may want to set the
scene by giving students some background. The directions can be very
specific or very open depending on the amount of structure the students
need. A sample form follows these steps.
the students some guidelines about the assessment. Explain that they
will use classroom assessment lists and that they will be given models
of excellent work.
of STEP 4
Help for Students
The teacher will keep the grades and other official information; the
student should keep a log of the tasks that she or he completes.
If the student is given the freedom to choose the task product format
and/or purpose, he or she should keep these records so that a variety
of tasks are accomplished. The students should mark the tasks that they
choose to save in the working folder in preparation for the final selection.
The log should be an ongoing record of a student's involvement in pursuit
of skills and literacy in the subject area.
is an example of the information that should be included in the student's
Task Management Plan
Students may not have much experience with projects like performance assessment
tasks. The individual task management plan will provide structure to the
student so that he or she approaches the task in an organized, thoughtful
manner. Students are asked to state the purpose of the task in their own
words. Then they list the steps to accomplish the plan. The teacher may
insert checkpoints with due dates to help ensure that the plan is carried
out according to schedule.
task is for the student to identify problems or barriers to the completion
of the task and consider solutions. When the plan is well done and complete,
the student and teacher sign it. For some projects, parents may be asked
to review the plan and sign it also. Students may not be specific enough
in their action plans at first. Give them feedback about the quality of
their plans and show them examples of well-done management plans.
TASK MANAGEMENT PLAN
(To accomplish task well and on time):
TO COMPLETING THE TASK:
TO GET AROUND THE BARRIERS:
PERFORMANCE ASSESSMENT TASKS
a Mix of Assessment Strategies
Use quizzes, open-book exams, traditional test, and performance assessment
tasks in a combination that will allow you to assess how students are
Slowly and Go One Step at a Time
The teacher may begin by choosing one task to start with. After some experience,
more tasks may be used. Another strategy is for the teacher to give the
students a menu of performance tasks early in the course, and let the
students each select one or two to do as major projects for the course.
At set times in the course, each student would present hos or her product
or performance to the class. If the student's task called for the product
or performance to be given to an audience outside of the class, then allow
that experience to occur first. When the student reports to his or her
peers in class, the experience with the outside audience could be part
of the report. Attentions should be focused on how the performance tasks
are helping to build subject area literacy in the students.
Lists and Models of Excellent Work
At the beginning of a performance task show students the classroom list
relevant to their project. Also show them examples of excellent work similar
to, but not identical to their current project. You may not have models
of excellent work at first.
excellent work should come from your students. You and your colleagues
could define what excellent work is in your course, For a poster talk,
for example, you might collect excellent posters on different topics.
If two or more teachers are teaching the same course, each one can collect
a set of excellent posters. When the collection is finished, review the
posters and select a final set that includes a variety of topics and styles
created for different audiences. You can choose to have students participate
in the final selection.
Especially in the beginning, students will have the tendency to complete
their work and turn it in to you without assessing it themselves. Require
that they use the classroom lists and assess their work using each element
in the appropriate lists.
Students Become Better at Self-Assessment
If students are not experienced in writing self-assessments, they will
need training during the course so that they can write an self-assessment
narrative. After students complete tasks, ask them to respond to the following
questions so that they will gain experience with self-assessment.
- What do
you like the most about your project? Why?
- What was
the most difficult part about making the project? Why?
- If you
were to do this project again, what would you do differently? Why?
- If you
were to revise this project one more time, how would you change it and
- How did
you craft your project so that it would be just right the specific audience?
- What helps
you be creative?
- What are
three words that describe you as a student? Explain how those three
words best describe you.
- If a candid
camera were to take pictures of you working on this project, what would
- Who was
the biggest help to you on this project? How did they help you?
- How does
this project show that you understand the important concepts we have
studied so far?
Attention should be focused on how the performance tasks are helping build
an understanding of course concepts. Rubrics and classroom assessment
lists can be the main criteria used to assess performance tasks.
A rubric is a set of descriptions of the quality of a process and/or a
product. The set of descriptions includes a continuum of quality from
excellent to poor. There are many varieties of rubrics. The one that follows
is a six-level rubric called a "Two-Decision Rubric."
To use the rubric, the assessor studies the product and makes the first
of two decisions. The assessor decides if the product is more like the
one that is excellent (T) or more like the one that is poor (W). If the
first decision is that the product is more like a T, then you are ready
to make the second and final decision. Is the product unusually excellent
(S), is it evenly excellent (T), or is it mostly excellent (U)?
eloquent, unusually excellent
excellent, unevenly excellent, one or two important elements that
are not excellent
than poor, one or two important elements that are better than poor
done or very poor
If the first
decision is that the product is more like a W, you must rate the porject
based on the following questions.. Is the product evenly poor (W), mostly
poor but with some better elements (V), or is it not completed or very
poorly done (X)? In only two decisions, the product is placed on a six-point
here use letters instead of numerals. There is good reason for this. If
numerals were used, for example, and a student were to make, on a scale
of 1 to 4, a 2 on one presentation and a 4 on another, someone might be
tempted to report that the student made an average of 3 on the product.
The score of 1, 2, 3 and 4 are in a continuum of quality, but the distances
between each of the levels of quality are probably the same. Rubrics are
more like the Continuum B than Continuum A, shown below, so the values
should not be added together and a "mean" score should not be calculated.
Equal intervals between values:
Unequal intervals between values:
the ratings made by the student on seven posters made throughout the course:
T U U T
be correct to describe the student's long-term performance by reporting
that he or she made three T's, three U's, and a W. Another observation,
however, would be that the rating of T was earned during the later part
of the course, which showed that the student improved with time and practice.
is designed to lay out a continuum of quality from very excellent to very
poor. It is a tool that puts this continuum into words and that can be
used to place students' work on a continuum of quality. If two or more
teachers are assessing the same type of performance, such as a poster,
then using the same rubric for the posters will help them both view posters
in the same way. Once a rubric has been created, it can be used unaltered
by many teachers. (Even teachers at different grade levels and/or teaching
different subjects can use the same rubric. Use of a common rubric can
provide continuity of teaching and learning from grade to grade and from
subject to subject.)
here to view a sample rubric for a poster.
The rubric is not a tool for students. Each teacher who uses the rubric
makes his or her own classroom assessment list. That classroom assessment
list uses terms the students can easily understand. Classroom lists are
guidelines. If a student meets every guideline of a classroom list in
an excellent manner, the product would probably be assessed as a T.
rubric remains unchanged from teacher to teacher, the classroom assessment
lists will likely differ from teacher to teacher. The teacher decides
how best to translate the rubric into a useful list of guidelines for
a particular class of students. It should be noted that after a few experiences
using the classroom assessment lists, the students working either alone
or in cooperative groups can make their own lists of guidelines; thus,
further engaging them in active learning. Click
here to see a sample classroom list that was developed from the sample
rubric viewable above.
An important life skill is the ability to self-assess and plan for improvement.
Students often complete their assignments expecting the teacher to grade
and return them. Students should learn to thoughtfully study their own
work and identify what they have done well and where they need improvement.
When students are taught to use the instructions in the performance task,
the classroom assessment list, and the models of excellence to assess
their own projects, their self-assessment will be more effective.
strategy for teaching students how to use these tools is to show them
posters from a previous year or another class that were rated as V or
U. Without telling the class what ratings the posters were given, organize
the students into small cooperative groups to assess the posters, using
the classroom assessment lists and models of excellent posters. Involve
the class in a discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of each sample
poster. Then, when students make their own posters, use cooperative groups
for peer-assessment. Require that the student assess his or her own work
on each element of the classroom assessment list before it is submitted
to the teacher. This process can be used with any other type of product.