Performance Based Assessments/ November 14th PD Day at RHS

So what exactly is a performance based assessment?

“Authentic assessments that require students to develop a product, response, analysis, or problem solution that reflects the kind of reasoning or performance required beyond the classroom.”  (Darling-Hammond, L.,&Adamson, F. 2014).

Why do we need to reform the way we do assessments?

“History suggests that a standard-by-standard approach to teaching and learning does not work.  Instead, our advice, based on research on learning, is to focus on the big ideas of what students are expected to accomplish…Consider how specific standards and evidence targets can be integrated in the development and demonstration of these major competencies through appropriate performance tasks.” (Joan Herman & Robert Linn , Ed Leadership, March 2014).

In short, the content laden, multi-question exam may not, and frequently does not, require much more than recall.  Today’s marketplace is calling for individuals that are able to apply the skills and knowledge they have gained to arrive at solutions to problems. But to create a true performance based task that gets at those skills and knowledge is not as easy as constructing a macaroni Parthenon~ as some might envision when they think performance based.

On November 14th, groups of teachers gathered during the early dismissal to compare their performance based benchmarks with some exemplars and they also used a design template to help them evaluate where their assessment was strong and where it could be enhanced.  The long range goal is to continue to analyze and enhance our benchmark assessments so that we are doing a better job at getting to testing actual skills and knowledge based on learned content.  I have seen a definite improvement in this area and we are continuing to move forward.  I’ve attached a sample of some of the items we are expecting in the development of a high quality assessment.

In addition to the work on performance based assessments, the high school is also working with Dr. Richmond this year to analyze and improve other types of assessments.  She began our first meeting together with the Wilderness Assessment that is attached.  Go ahead and answer the questions and I challenge you to get them all correct. (I’ll provide the answers in another post :-)).  Dr. Richmond will be working with our staff through the instructional coach’s office and provide a more individualized approach to assisting teachers with enhancing how they assess students.

Stay tuned for updates



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