Performance-Based Assessment: Reviewing the Basics
A workshop on performance-based assessments was recently held, and I took part in it. I was a complete sceptic when I entered the class, thinking that this was simply another schooling trend, but by the time the first day was up, I was completely sold on it! I was excited to collaborate with educators on the development of performance-based assessments, but before we got started, I conducted a little bit of research. What I discovered is as follows.
There has been a recent resurgence in the use of performance-based assessments in educational literature as well as educational curriculum. In the 1990s, performance-based assessments emerged as a credible replacement for the conventional multiple-choice exams that were previously used. In the years that followed, legislative mandates turned the focus away from unorthodox testing techniques and toward standardised examinations, which led to a fall in the usage of those approaches (Darling-Hammond & Adamson, 2013). Performance-based assessments are becoming an increasingly important part of education because an increasing number of school systems and colleges are looking for authentic ways to measure the learning of their students.
What is a performance-based assessment?
There is a wide range of variation in the definition of performance-based assessments depending on the author, the discipline, the publication, and the audience that is intended to receive it (Palm, 2008). In general, the capacity of students to apply the skills and knowledge that they have gained from one or more units of study is what is measured by a performance-based assessment. In most cases, the assignment requires students to make use of their higher-order thinking skills in order to produce an item or finish a procedure (Chun, 2010). Tasks might range from anything as straightforward as a manufactured response (for example, a quick answer) to something as involved as the construction of a sustainable community idea. Students are required to execute a task that is a close reflection of the responsibilities of a professional, such as an artist, engineer, laboratory technician, financial analyst, or consumer advocate. This is the kind of assessment that is considered to be the most authentic.
What are the essential components of a performance-based assessment?
Even while performance-based evaluations can take a variety of forms, the vast majority of them have a few important things in common. In the first place, the evaluation provides a reliable measurement of one or more particular requirements for the course. In addition to this, it is:
Complex \sAuthentic \sProcess/product-oriented
Students are typically given a question that is open-ended and has the potential to have multiple different solutions that are correct (Chun, 2010; McTighe, 2015). As is the case in the vast majority of real-life scenarios, a sense of urgency is present in the higher-level activities, where it is imperative that either the product or the process be developed.
How can teachers create performance-based assessments for their students?
My most recent project involved developing a performance-based assessment for a lesson on probability in conjunction with a math instructor at a high school. The following is a condensed and simplified form of our planning, which is mostly based on the process of backward design:
1. Determine the performance-based assessment’s desired end results.
In this specific situation, the instructor desired for her students to demonstrate their capacity for critical thinking as well as problem-solving skills. In addition to that, she desired for them to complete this evaluation with a greater sense of uniqueness and less dependence on one another. The instructor did not want the students to rely on her direction regarding how to complete each phase of the evaluation because she wanted the students to take responsibility for their own learning.
2. Choose the course requirements that are applicable.
She chose the Common Core standards that would be addressed with this performance evaluation once it had been determined what the goals would be. She came to the conclusion that the evaluation should test the students’ comprehension of rules of probability as well as conditional probability.
3. Go back over the evaluations and locate any knowledge gaps.
This was a very significant stage in the process. We took a look at the worksheets that the students were working on at the moment as part of the unit. A significant portion of the homework consisted of creating two-way frequency tables. After that, we investigated what was lacking and discovered that there was a remarkably limited amount of pertinent real-world applicability. As a consequence of this, we made the decision to design a performance-based evaluation that was also grounded in the actual world. Additionally, in order to complete this job, students will need to examine two-way frequency tables, in addition to various charts and graphs.
4. Construct the possible outcomes.
After coming up with a number of potential situations, we finally agreed on one in which the students would be the ones to decide whether or not a person should be granted parole or allowed to remain in prison. This scenario consisted of the following five important components:
Setting \sRole \sAudience
Duration of the product (See the Public Comments Session example below.)
5. Acquire or make the necessary materials.
This step may or may not be required, depending on the particulars of the circumstance. We needed to make sure that pupils understood how to calculate the likelihood that an individual would be sent back to jail after being released. I made seven distinct documents for them to look through, each of which contained a pie chart, a bar graph, and a frequency table that showed both directions. Statistics from various government agencies, such as the Federal Bureau of Prisons and the Bureau of Justice Statistics, were used as the basis for all of the information shown here.
6. Create a strategy for your education.
In the process of getting the children ready for the performance-based exam, we wanted to be very careful not to “teach to the test.” We sought to find a middle ground between teaching the material (for example, how to calculate the chance of something happening if two unrelated things happen) and preparing the students for the activity (e.g., interpreting the validity of a media resource). Before students could finish the performance task, we came up with six separate formative assessments that would need to be in place. Nevertheless, we were also aware that this particular aspect of our strategy would need to be reexamined and modified on a regular basis depending on the requirements of the students.
Example: Public Comments Session
As a result of her convictions for theft and assault, Ashley will spend between three and five years incarcerated in the Texas State Women’s Correctional Institution. This prisoner is eligible for release after serving his or her sentence of three years. The Inmate Review Board holds Public Comment Sessions on the first and fifteenth of every month. All interested parties who wish to express their support for or opposition to the release of a certain person from jail are welcome to participate in the sessions.
You served as Ashley’s probation officer in the past, and the warden has asked that you come to the Public Comment Session to share your thoughts. It has been requested that you look over the following documents and give your opinion on them: Should Ashley serve the remainder of her sentence or be granted early release from prison? You will have between three and five minutes to address the committee in charge of the review. Your presentation needs to be concise while still including substantial facts to back up the choice you’ve made.
Report on the criminal history of the documents
Article announcing the launch of a new web series centred on theft.
Blog post on jail nurseries
The inmate’s mother and son wrote a letter to the parole board expressing their concerns about the inmate.
a publication that discusses the statistics of incarceration in the state
Publication of a press statement regarding a job programme in prisons
An executive summary of research on the reoffending rates of nonviolent criminals
In the comments box below, please share any ideas or opinions you have regarding performance-based assessments.