This self-paced, online course provides educators with detailed information on performance assessment. Through five 30-minute modules, practitioners, instructional leaders, and administrators will learn foundational concepts of assessment literacy and how to develop, score, and use performance assessments. They will also learn about the role of performance assessment within a comprehensive assessment system.
The course content is based on seminal and current research in assessment literacy, performance assessment, and balanced assessment systems. Performance assessment refers to assessments that require students to craft their own responses to problems through constructing an answer, producing a product, or performing an activity (Parsi & Darling-Hammond, 2015). Researchers have found that the use of performance assessments can produce positive instructional changes in classrooms (Koretz, Mitchell, Barron, & Keith, 1996) and improve teaching (Darling-Hammond & Wood 2008), including supporting teachers in developing strategies to deepen students’ critical thinking and problem-solving (Faxon-Mills, Hamilton, Rudnick, & Stecher, 2013). Their use is also associated with increased student skill development, student engagement, and post-secondary success (Foote, 2005); and can strengthen complex conceptual understandings (Chung & Baker, 2003). Performance assessment ideally takes place within a comprehensive, balanced assessment system, which is a system that includes a variety of instruments and processes to produce information and data for stakeholders (Gong, 2010).
The course provides several tools to help users develop their own performance assessment appropriate to their needs. These tools include a Performance Assessment Development Template and a Performance Assessment Quality and Validation Review Tool. Users are encouraged to use the Performance Assessment Development Template throughout the course so they will finish having created a complete, high-quality performance assessment.
The course also includes downloadable readings, writing tasks, quizzes, and reflection activities to help users further their understanding of the material.
Through participation in the modules, participants will:
This course was prepared under Contract ED-IES-17-C-0008 by Regional Educational Laboratory Northeast & Islands, administered by Education Development Center. The content does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of IES or the U.S. Department of Education, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.
MODULE 1: ABOUT THIS MODULE
Module 1 will prepare you to define performance assessment, to articulate the main reasons for using performance assessments, to know when and how to use performance assessments, and to identify the role of standards and performance outcomes in relationship to performance assessment.
MODULE 2: ABOUT THIS MODULE
This module leads you through the first steps and considerations for developing a performance assessment. For example, identifying your assessment’s population as well as specifying the purpose of the assessment, identifying standards and creating performance outcomes. The module also addresses equity considerations, such as differentiation, fairness, and bias. In this module you’ll have an opportunity to begin creating a performance assessment of your own.
MODULE 3: ABOUT THIS MODULE
This module continues with the performance assessment development process introduced in Module 2 and covers how to design and prepare a performance assessment, including how to create performance tasks. It includes an overview of strategies for engaging students in the assessment development process and concludes with considerations for assessment preparation and administration. The module concludes with a discussion of validity and reliability and the important role they play in developing a high-quality performance assessment.
MODULE 4: ABOUT THIS MODULE
This module discusses how to create a rubric, engage students in that process, and use the rubric to evaluate student work. The module also presents the process of evaluating the performance assessment for quality and conducting a validity check.
MODULE 5: ABOUT THIS MODULE
This module closes out the course by framing performance assessment within the larger context of assessment systems and by specifically discussing the role of performance assessment in a comprehensive assessment system. This module explores the types of evidence you can collect from performance assessments and offers ideas for how students, teachers, and school leaders can use the results.
Resources & Tools
The following resources and tools will support your learning throughout this course and help you to create a high-quality performance assessment. You can access them at any time from this Resources and Tools tab and you will also be directed to links that open them when they are introduced in the various modules. You may wish to download and save the first three editable documents now because you will be using them throughout the course.
Editable Tools & Forms to Download & Save
Module 1 Resources
Module 2 Resources
Module 3 Resources
Module 4 Resources
Module 5 Resources
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