REL Northeast & Islands is excited to release a free online course that will guide teachers in developing, scoring, and using high-quality performance assessments within a comprehensive assessment system. Performance assessments—a method of assessment where students demonstrate their knowledge by constructing an answer, designing a product, or performing an activity1—may be an especially useful tool to keep students engaged during this unconventional school year where many students are learning from home.
You may already be familiar with the benefits of performance assessment for students, but did you know that researchers have found positive outcomes for teachers too? Some researchers have found that the use of performance assessments can produce positive instructional changes in classrooms2 and improve teaching,3 including supporting teachers in developing strategies to deepen students' critical thinking and problem-solving.4 Their use is also associated with increased student skill development, student engagement, and post-secondary success;5 and can strengthen complex conceptual understandings.6
My colleague Jill Marcus and I have spent several years developing this new online course. We collaborated with educators throughout each step of the process—from reviewing the module content to ensuring usability. The course tools and resources use the latest research and evidence-based information available. We also worked with a savvy online course developer to create a professional looking and engaging online course.
If you are a teacher, instructional leader, school or district administrator, teacher candidate, or faculty in a teacher preparation program, you could benefit from this course. Through five, self-paced, 30-minute modules, you will learn foundational concepts of assessment literacy, the role performance assessments play within a comprehensive assessment system, and how to develop, score, and use performance assessments with your students. By the end of the course, you will have the opportunity to create a high-quality performance assessment that can be administered either in-person or during remote learning.
To learn more about the benefits of performance assessment, including ways to engage students in the process and the assessment itself, participate in the course today.
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1Parsi, A., & Darling-Hammond, L. (2015). Performance assessments: How state policy can advance assessments for 21st century learning. White Paper. National Association of State Boards of Education
2Koretz, D., Mitchell, K., Barron, S., & Keith, S. (1996). The perceived effects of the Maryland school performance assessment program. Los Angeles: Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Assessment, University of California at Los Angeles.
3Darling-Hammond, L., & Wood, G. (2008). Assessment for the 21st century: Using performance assessments to measure student learning more effectively. Washington, DC: The Forum for Education and Democracy.
4Faxon-Mills, S., Hamilton, L. S., Rudnick, M., & Stecher, B. M. (2013). New assessments, better instruction? Designing assessment systems to promote instructional improvement. Santa Monica, CA: RAND.
5Foote, C. J. (2005). The challenge and potential of high-need urban education. Journal of Negro Education, 74(4), 371â€“381.
6Chung, G. K., & Baker, E. L. (2003). An exploratory study to examine the feasibility of measuring problem-solving processes using a click-through interface. Journal of Technology, Learning and Assessment, 2(2).