Given their emphasis on complex and sophisticated disciplinary skills and understandings, the Common Core State Standards, Next Generation Science Standards and C3 Framework for State Social Studies Standards require ways of assessing that go beyond routine multiple-choice tests. Whether students are learning to select, use, and explain evidence to support a claim or to analyze data to evaluate a hypothesis, tests that require that students only bubble in a scantron are inadequate to measure (or support) students' learning and growth. Performance assessments are more suited to this task. While performance assessments vary along multiple dimensions, including duration and focus, they all demand that students use and apply critical skills and knowledge to demonstrate understanding.
This ten-week course will focus on the wise implementation of performance assessments and the use of student work products to inform task design and subsequent instruction. Course activities include selecting and adapting a performance assessment to be used in a specific course, implementing that task, and evaluating student work to learn more about the task and students' learning. We will use a learning-centered approach where assessments are not only about measuring learning, but are also events for learning.
The main objectives of this course are for participants to:
- Select and adapt a high-quality performance task that is aligned with (and embedded within) a curricular unit of study;
- Develop a set of considerations for effective implementation of performance tasks;
- Begin to use data from performance tasks to tailor and improve instruction and curriculum;
- Become familiar with freely-available resources that support the wise use of performance assessments in K-12 classrooms;
- Contribute to building a community of educators focused on using performance-based assessments to identify and develop students' abilities.