../Images/btn_assessment_over.gif Classroom Interactions Attitude Surveys


A. Defining Performance Targets and Tasks
B. Creating a Rubric
C. Building Student Portfolios



A. Defining Performance Targets and Tasks

Although objective assessments are very common in K-12 classrooms and on standardized tests, there are many critics who feel objective assessments do not adequately assess student learning. Whereas it is quite easy to measure students' knowledge about a subject using a multiple-choice quiz, objective assessments do not indicate whether or not the student can apply that knowledge. For example, a student may perform well on a mathematics quiz, but be unable to make correct change.

Performance assessments have the advantage of being able to provide clear evidence of students' achievements. In addition, they are useful for a wide range of classroom activities, including essays, science projects, public speaking, and multimedia projects. Performance assessment is an excellent method for addressing skills at the higher levels of Bloom's taxonomy. Watch the video Assessment for Understanding from the Edutopia website ( to review some of the advantages and applications of performance assessment.

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The first step in creating a performance assessment is defining the target -- determining what is it you are going to assess. This can generally be accomplished by reviewing the standards and objectives. For example, the following benchmarks clearly require assessments other than objective quizzes.

  • Language Arts (3-5):  Responds to speakers by asking questions, making contributions, and paraphrasing what is said.
  • Science (3-5):  Determines that the properties of materials (e.g., density and volume) can be compared and measured (e.g., using rulers, balances, and thermometers).
  • Visual Arts (6-8):  Creates two-dimensional and three-dimensional works of art that reflect competency and craftsmanship gained from the visual arts that can enhance and deepen understanding of life.
  • Mathematics (6-8):  Constructs, interprets, and uses scale drawings such as those based on number lines and maps to solve real-world problems.
  • Language Arts (9-12):  Writes text, notes, outlines, comments, and observations that demonstrate comprehension and synthesis of content, processes, and experiences from a variety of media.

After the target is defined, the next step is to create a task that will allow the students to demonstrate their knowledge, reasoning, skills, and/or attitudes. These tasks should be authentic (real-world), feasible (in time, space, and cost), fair (not biased based on gender, race, etc.), flexible (allow multiple outcomes), and observable. For example, the performance task may be that students conduct a science experiment, create a clay sculpture, or write a position paper that advocates a change in the school dress code. After the task is defined, a rubric can be developed to assess the task.



Try This

  1. Many of the standards and benchmarks are specific to grade levels and content areas. However, one thread that weaves through all of the standards is the need to integrate technology into the curriculum. Read the article Alternative Assessment and Technology
    • Reflect on how technology could be used for performance tasks in your classroom.
  2. Search the Internet for examples of performance assessment related to your content area and grade level.
  3. Locate a standard or benchmark for your grade level that would require a performance assessment. Create a task that that will allow your students to demonstrate their knowledge, reasoning, skills, and/or attitudes.


Continue to Section B
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This course was developed in partnership between the Pinellas School
and the Florida Center for Instructional Technology at USF.
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