How and When to Use Performance Assessment Effectively

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Journal Prompt #2: When and how do I use performance assessment most effectively?
Performance assessments require students to demonstrate performance of certain skills and create products that demonstrate mastery of certain standards of quality. Performance can be observed while it happens or by examining the student’s product.

Performance assessments are developed by defining performance criteria and developing performance tasks or exercises. In defining performance, a teacher must make two decisions: knowing what type of performance you are assessing as well as what good performance looks like. Once you select the type of performance, you can ask yourself how successful achievement will manifest itself. The answer may be in a particular set of performance skills that students must demonstrate, such as proficiency at public speaking or development of motor skills in education. Proficiency may also be revealed in something the learner creates. It can be a particular kind of product that is examined to find evidence of achievement.

The next step in defining performance is developing scoring guides or rubrics. Along with defining what outstanding performance looks like, it is important to map each of the different levels of performance leading up to the highest levels. This must be done with descriptive language and examples of student work illustrating each level of proficiency.

The final step is developing performance criteria. In order to create your own rubrics, you need to carry out a thoughtful analysis of the performance skill or product you wish to evaluate. This is a five-step process: analyze performance examples to discover the key to success, condense your analysis into a set of key attributes, define the key attributes and develop a performance continuum for each, apply your procedures in practice until you are consistent, and refine your procedures and criteria when necessary.

In devising performance tasks, your students are set up to...
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