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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Performance Based Assessments

Some of the districts we talk to ask us about performance-based assessments, if we have clients that use them, and how successful it has been. It seems that performance based assessments have been around for a long time but districts have a difficult time implementing and grading them. We do, in fact, have some clients that are successful with this type of assessment. The key to this success is in assessment management process.

So let’s answer some questions:

What are performance-based assessments?

Performance-based assessments are an alternative to traditional multiple choice assessments. They are “designed to encompass a better overall representation of student progress including the effectiveness of teacher lesson plans, worksheets and study skills. The idea with performance-based testing is to gather a demonstration of the scope of knowledge a student has on a subject rather than simply testing the accuracy of their response on a selection of questions.” -

Why implement performance-based assessments?

Some believe that the traditional methods of testing do not accurately measure student knowledge so these methods are not the best indicator of student performance. Performance-based assessments can, therefore, be used to supplement the testing process and encompass a wider range of performance criteria measurement.

What makes this difficult to implement?

The difficult part of managing performance-based assessments is in the time it takes to grade the assessments for large classrooms as well as how to grade the assessments in the most objective manner possible.

That leaves us with how do teachers successfully manage performance-based assessments in the classroom? -- They implement a rubric grading model. Now this can be a manual or an automated process. For our clients, we use an automated process where teachers can build and reuse rubrics that connect to their curriculum and assessments. Other districts use a paper-based process where teachers manually create the rubrics. The automated process obviously saves more time but both help the teacher to objectively grade their assessments.

Here are some additional resources related to rubrics and performance-based assessments:

Performance Based Assessment | teAchnology
Why Rubrics? | teAchnology

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