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Classroom Assessment Techniques
Performance Assessment

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Performance assessment strategies are composed of three distinct parts: a performance task; a format in which the student responds; and a predetermined scoring system. Tasks are assignments designed to assess a student's ability to manipulate equipment (laboratory equipment, computers, documents, etc.) for a given purpose. Students can either complete the task in front of a panel of judges or use a written response sheet. The student is then scored by comparing the performance against a set of written criteria. When used with students with highly varying abilities, performance tasks can take maximum advantage of judging student abilities by using tasks with multiple correct solutions.

Students are graded on the process of problem solving using a rating scale based on explicit standards. Performance assessments have been validated by English faculty who conduct writing assessments, Olympic judges who score competition divers, jury panels who evaluate musical performances and K-12 science teachers (Shavelson, et al.). In these examples, individuals receive a score based on analyzing and evaluating various required components of a performance individually. This is known as ANALYTIC SCORING.

Figure 1 - Sample Authentic Tasks:

Is this water sample suitable for drinking?
Remove these old, unlabeled chemicals from the lab.
What is the approximate age of this fossil bearing rock?
How fast was the car moving before it crashed if it left 15 meter skid marks in front of this building?

Performance assessment strategies are best utilized in concert with other forms of assessment. Similar to driver education or pilot certification, both factual knowledge and procedural knowledge (knowledge of methods and procedures) are important components of a complete of SMET education.

Assessment Purposes
The purpose of performance assessment is to evaluate the actual process of doing science or mathematics. Performance assessments examine students' actual application of knowledge to solve problems. In some cases, the solution of the problem may imply the application of a specific procedure learned in class; in others, a combination of procedures; still in others it may require a thoughtful adaptation of students' knowledge. The assessment of student's knowledge focuses on the performance and the result.

Performance assessments are typically inappropriate for measuring student knowledge of facts.

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