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Classroom Assessment Techniques
Performance Assessment

(Screen 3 of 6)
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Teaching Goals
Develop ability to:

Suggestions for Use
Diagnostic Purposes
Performance assessments may be used for diagnostic purposes. What do students know about how to solve certain types of problems? Do they know how to control variables? how to use intruments? how to evaluate findings? Information provided at the beginning of the course may help decide where to start or what issues of the course need special attention.

Instructional Purposes
A good performance assessment often is indistinguishable from a learning activity, except for standardization and scoring. In this light, a performance task that simulates the authentic tasks of a scientists or mathematician may be used as either an instructional activity or an assessment activity. If the assessment task is used in such a way that the student would normally not know it is an assessment activity, it is called an embedded task.

Monitoring Purposes
The goal of a performance assessment is to judge the level of competency students have achieved in doing science and mathematics. Accordingly, performance assessment strategies are best used to monitor student process skills and problem solving approaches. The most effective performance assessments are authentic tasks that are open-ended with multiple-correct solution paths.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Figure 2 - Holistic Scoring Example: The Telescope Task

Your task is to set up and align the 8" telescope, find three different sky objects, and accurately describe some aspects of these objects that astronomers consider to be important.

Level 3: Student completes all aspects of task quickly and efficiently and is able to answer questions about the equipment used and objects observed beyond what is obvious. The tasks are:
  1. align telescope mount with north celestial pole;
  2. align finder telescope with primary telescope;
  3. center on target object;
  4. select and focus appropriate eyepiece;
  5. provide information about the target beyond the literal descriptive level; and
  6. answer questions about the target correctly.

Level 2: Student completes all aspects of task and provides descriptive information about the equipment and objects observed.

Level 1: Student is not able to complete all aspects of task or is not able to sufficient provide information about the equipment used or objects observed.

Level 0: No attempt or meaningful effort obvious.

Figure 3 - Performance Task Evaluation Sheet
Performance Task Title: ____________ A spacer image to keep the table cell from collapsing. Date: __________
Student Name: ____________ A spacer image to keep the table cell from collapsing. Total Score: __________
Performance Goals: ____________ A spacer image to keep the table cell from collapsing.  
No evidence
(0 points)
Approaches goal
(1 point)
Meets goal
(2 points)
Exceeds goal
(3 points)
1. Method of Research: Identifies the information and steps needed to solve the problem.
0 1 2 3
2. Appropriate Use of Equipment and Apparatus: Demonstrates the correct application and cautious use of equipment and apparatus to meet this standard.
0 1 2 3
3. Accuracy and Precision: Demonstrates the ability to make accurate measurements to appropriate precision and to judge the reasonableness of the results.
0 1 2 3
4. Comprehension: Properly applies concepts and formulas related to phenomena.
0 1 2 3
5. Calculations: Properly uses mathematics and mathematical conversions (as needed) to solve the problem.
0 1 2 3
6. Laboratory Report: Communicates conclusions in a complete, clear, and organized way using illustrations.
0 1 2 3

Note: Adapted, with permission, from T.F. Slater and J.M. Ryan (1993). Laboratory performance assessment. The Physics Teacher, v. 31, no. 5, pages 306 - 309.

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