This chapter covers assessment by performance. This is an interesting type of assessment for me. As a middle years math teacher, I assume that my students have already mastered any skill that they would need to demonstrate by performance – e.g. how to use a ruler to measure.
Here’s an excerpt from the chapter explaining when to use performance assessment for learning:
…we advocated reserving performance assessment for those learning targets that really require it: skills, products, and some forms of reasoning. The most important determiner for using performance assessment is the nature of the learning target.
As it is with any assessment task, it is important to have the best match of the learning target and the assessment method. Some examples of skills that would be a good match for performance assessment would be – fitness improvement, or elementary skills such as using a protractor.
There’s a brief section that covers potential problems with a performance assessment which I found very helpful:
- The student’s performance may not always provide evidence of learning objective.
- Students who are not certain of what they’re supposed to do may produce poor quality work because of lack of understanding and not necessarily because they do not have a grasp of the learning objective.
- The assessment task takes longer than planned.
- The necessary resources needed for the assessment task is not available.
A significant part of the chapter covers guidelines to developing a rubric. Here are a few that I found helpful:
- Number of criteria on a rubric should consider the learning target and its complexity.
- Use samples to consider each level – extreme, middle levels, top and bottom levels.
- The wording should be descriptive and create a clear picture of what each level should show.
- Students’ work should be grouped according to level – this should help in gauging the level of criteria.
Other notes from the chapter:
- Be vigilant about assuming how much time the task will take. We often underestimate the time for a task so it is helpful to think the assessment through before assigning the task.
- It is helpful to give the students sufficient ‘knowledge’ reminder before the task to prevent spending too much time answering ‘knowledge’ questions during the task.
- Although obvious, it is helpful to remind yourself to make the criteria clear to the students.