15.9: Performance assessments
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- playing a musical instrument
- athletic skills
- artistic creation
- conversing in a foreign language
- engaging in a debate about political issues
- conducting an experiment in science
- repairing a machine
- writing a term paper
- using interaction skills to play together
- Alternative assessment also refers an assessment system that is used to assess students with the most significant cognitive disability or multiple disabilities that significantly impact intellectual functioning and adaptive behavior.
- However, writing a five-paragraph paper is not as authentic as such papers are not used in the world of work.
- However, a five-paragraph paper is a complex task and would typically be classified as a performance assessment.
Internet Resource on Performance Assessment
Advantages and disadvantages
- One major disadvantage with performance assessments is that they are typically very time consuming for students and teachers. This means that fewer assessments can be gathered so if they are not carefully devised fewer learning goals will be assessed—which can reduce content validity.
- performing complex movement combinations to music in a
- variety of meters and styles
- performing combinations and variations in a broad dynamic range
- demonstrating improvement in performing movement combinations through self-evaluation
- critiquing a live or taped dance production based on given criteria
- Another disadvantage of performance assessments is they are hard to assess reliably which can lead to inaccuracy and unfair evaluation. As with any constructed response assessment, scoring rubrics are very important.
||Participation and performance in roles
||Group did not stay on task and so task was not completed.
||Group did not assign or share roles.
||Single individual did the task.
||Group was off-task the majority of the time but task was completed.
||Groups assigned roles but members did not use these roles.
||Group totally disregarded comments and ideas from some members.
||Group stayed on task most of the time.
||Groups accepted and used some but not all roles.
||Group accepted some ideas but did not give others adequate consideration
||Group stayed on task throughout the activity and managed time well.
||Group accepted and used roles and actively participated.
||Groups gave equal consideration to all ideas
||Group defined their own approach in a way that more effectively managed the activity.
||Group defined and used roles not mentioned to them. Role changes took place that maximized individuals’ expertise.
||Groups made specific efforts to involve all group members including the reticent members.
|Source: Adapted from Group Interaction (GI) SETUP (2003). Issues, Evidence and You. Ronkonkomo, NY Lab-Aids, (cse.edc.org/products/assessment/middleschool/scorerub.asp).
- Create performance assessments that require students to use complex cognitive skills. Sometimes teachers devise assessments that are interesting and that the students enjoy but do not require students to use higher level cognitive skills that lead to significant learning. Focusing on high level skills and learning outcomes is particularly important because performance assessments are typically so time consuming.
- Ensure that the task is clear to the students. Performance assessments typically require multiple steps so students need to have the necessary prerequisite skills and knowledge as well as clear directions. Careful scaffolding is important for successful performance assessments.
- Specify expectations of the performance clearly by providing students scoring rubrics during the instruction. This not only helps students understand what it expected but it also guarantees that teachers are clear about what they expect. Thinking this through while planning the performance assessment can be difficult for teachers, but is crucial as it typically leads to revisions of the actual assessment and directions provided to students.
- Reduce the importance of unessential skills in completing the task. What skills are essential depends on the purpose of the task. For example, for a science report, is the use of publishing software essential? If the purpose of the assessment is for students to demonstrate the process of the scientific method including writing a report, then the format of the report may not be significant. However, if the purpose includes integrating two subject areas, science and technology, then the use of publishing software is important. Because performance assessments take time it is tempting to include multiple skills without carefully considering if all the skills are essential to the learning goals.