Lesson 9.6: Performance Assessment
- Page ID
- 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 refers to tasks that are not pencil-and-paper and while many performance assessments are not pencil-and paper tasks some are (e.g. writing a term paper, essay test).
- 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.
Advantages and disadvantages
performance assessments (Linn & Miller 2005). First, the focus is on complex learning outcomes that often cannot be measured by other methods. Second, performance assessments typically assess process or procedure as well as the product. For example, the teacher can observe if the students are repairing the machine using the appropriate tools and procedures as well as whether the machine functions properly after the repairs. Third, well designed performance assessments communicate the instructional goals and meaningful learning clearly to students. For example, if the topic in a fifth-grade art class is one-point perspective the performance assessment could be drawing a city scene that illustrates one-point perspective. This assessment is meaningful and clearly communicates the learning goal. This performance assessment is a good instructional activity and has good content validity—common with well-designed performance assessments (Linn & Miller 2005).
- 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.
Table 41: Example of group interaction rubric
middle grade science ,but could be used in other subject areas when assessing group process. In some performance assessments, several scoring rubrics should be used. In the dance performance example above Eric should have scoring rubrics for the performance skills, the improvement based on self-evaluation, the team work, and the critique of the other group.
- 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.