• Brualdi, Amy (1998). Implementing performance assessment in the classroom. Practical Assessment, Research & Evaluation, 6(2). Retrieved October 29, 2009 from http://PAREonline.net/getvn.asp?v=6&n=2 . This paper has been viewed 126,806 times since 11/13/1999.

    • it is difficult to write completion or multiple choice tests that go beyond the recall level.

    • Performance-based assessments “represent a set of strategies for the . . . application of knowledge, skills, and work habits through the performance of tasks that are meaningful and engaging to students” (Hibbard and others, 1996, p. 5). This type of assessment provides teachers with information about how a child understands and applies knowledge. Also, teachers can integrate performance-based assessments into the instructional process to provide additional learning experiences for students.

    • The benefit of performance-based assessments are well documented. However, some teachers are hesitant to implement them in their classrooms. Commonly, this is because these teachers feel they don’t know enough about how to fairly assess a student’s performance (Airasian,1991). Another reason for reluctance in using performance-based assessments may be previous experiences with them when the execution was unsuccessful or the results were inconclusive (Stiggins, 1994). The purpose of this digest is to outline the basic steps that you can take to plan and execute effective performance-based assessments.

      • What concept, skill, or knowledge am I trying to assess?
      • What should my students know?
      • At what level should my students be performing?
      • What type of knowledge is being assessed: reasoning, memory, or process (Stiggins, 1994)?

    • There are some things that you must take into account before you choose the activity: time constraints, availability of resources in the classroom, and how much data is necessary in order to make an informed decision about the quality of a student’s performance (This consideration is frequently referred to as sampling.).

    • The literature distinguishes between two types of performance-based assessment activities that you can implement in your classroom: informal and formal (Airasian, 1991; Popham, 1995; Stiggins, 1994).

    • When a student is being informally assessed, the student does not know that the assessment is taking place. As a teacher, you probably use informal performance assessments all the time.

    • A student who is being formally assessed knows that you are evaluating him/her. When a student’s performance is formally assessed, you may either have the student perform a task or complete a project. You can either observe the student as he/she performs specific tasks or evaluate the quality of finished products.

    • You must beware that not all hands-on activities can be used as performance-based assessments (Wiggins, 1993). Performance-based assessments require individuals to apply their knowledge and skills in context, not merely completing a task on cue.

      • Identify the overall performance or task to be assessed, and perform it yourself or imagine yourself performing it
      • List the important aspects of the performance or product.
      • Try to limit the number of performance criteria, so they can all be observed during a pupil’s performance.
      • If possible, have groups of teachers think through the important behaviors included in a task.
      • Express the performance criteria in terms of observable pupil behaviors or product characteristics.
      • Don’t use ambiguous words that cloud the meaning of the performance criteria.
      • Arrange the performance criteria in the order in which they are likely to be observed.

    • allow your students to participate in this process

    • asking the students to name the elements of the project/task that they would use to determine how successfully it was completed (Stix, 1997).

    • A rubric is a rating system by which teachers can determine at what level of proficiency a student is able to perform a task or display knowledge of a concept. With rubrics, you can define the different levels of proficiency for each criterion. Like the process of developing criteria, you can either utilize previously developed rubrics or create your own. When using any type of rubric, you need to be certain that the rubrics are fair and simple. Also, the performance at each level must be clearly defined and accurately reflect its corresponding criterion (or subcategory)

    • As with criteria development, allowing your students to assist in the creation of rubrics may be a good learning experience for them. You can engage students in this process by showing them examples of the same task performed/project completed at different levels and discuss to what degree the different elements of the criteria were displayed. However, if your students do not help to create the different rubrics, you will probably want to share those rubrics with your students before they complete the task or project.

      • Checklist Approach When you use this, you only have to indicate whether or not certain elements are present in the performances.
      • Narrative/Anecdotal Approach When teachers use this, they will write narrative reports of what was done during each of the performances. From these reports, teachers can determine how well their students met their standards.
      • Rating Scale Approach When teachers use this, they indicate to what degree the standards were met. Usually, teachers will use a numerical scale. For instance, one teacher may rate each criterion on a scale of one to five with one meaning “skill barely present” and five meaning “skill extremely well executed.”
      • Memory Approach When teachers use this, they observe the students performing the tasks without taking any notes. They use the information from their memory to determine whether or not the students were successful. (Please note that this approach is not recommended.)

    • teachers may wish to allow students to assess them themselves. Permitting students to do this provides them with the opportunity to reflect upon the quality of their work and learn from their successes and failures.

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