Mathematics Performance Tasks Overview
Shifts in Assessment
Two purposes of assessment are to improve instructional decision making
and to improve student learning. Teachers need to focus on how they can
gain better information about their students and how students can demonstrate
their mathematical understanding. As curriculum and instruction has broadened
to include problem solving, critical reasoning, communication, and connections
to real life and other disciplines, the types of assessment teachers use
must broaden as well. Teachers are therefore being encouraged to explore
and implement a variety of assessment strategies and techniques.
What are performance tasks?
Performance tasks are individual or group activities that result in products
that can be used to assess mathematical understanding. Performance tasks
may take many forms and often require students to gather data, to formulate
plans, and to use problem-solving strategies. They may result in oral
responses, diagrams, tables, graphs, drawings, or written explanations
that can be used to assess holistically the depth of understanding and
the degree of effort.
The performance tasks here provide teachers with an alternative assessment
strategy that should be a natural extension of their classroom activities
and lessons. These assessments provide teachers with another method of
collecting information regarding the mathematical understanding of their
The assessments were developed by teachers on the Mathematics Core Committee
using many professional resources. They are based on the objectives in
the Sunshine State Standards. Three previous drafts of the assessments
have been available in schools, classroom tested by interested teachers,
and revised after feedback.
Using the performance tasks
- As you plan your mathematics
lessons, examine the performance tasks to review the objectives that
are being assessed and the types of instructional activity the performance
- During your mathematics
instruction, have students participate in learning activities that are
similar in format to the performance tasks.
- Administer the performance
tasks either after the end of the chapters in the textbook or after
teaching the objectives listed on the performance task teacher direction
- Many tasks utilize manipulatives.
- Tasks may be read to students,
clarifying all steps and directions.
Scoring the performance tasks
- Observe students as they
complete the performance task to gain insight into their level of proficiency.
- Sort the student papers
into stacks according to the general criteria on the rubric.
- Ask yourself some questions
to get a feel for student progress on the assessments. For example,