Performance-Based Assessment Development

How We Assess those More Intangible Parts of Student Learning is the Subject of "Performance-Based Assesssment"

As educators, teachers need to look for measures whenever feasible to assess student progress, learning, achievement, effort, and more.  Teachers must be able to assign values to these efforts, say in the form of a test grade or a final number or letter for the class.  While this is an important part of the job of teaching there are other facets of student learning that are not so easy to measure with single grades, figures, charts, or data points.  Many teachers believe that the "hard" numbers we get from grades and scores are far less important than more subtle ways of measuring student progress.

In the "real world," the argument goes, it is rare that people get such stark "grades" for their efforts.  Also, in the "real world," it is rare that there is such a clean distinction between the "soft" and "hard" facets of a project.  For example, in a professional team project, a person is "graded" on the grammar in a presentation delivred to an audience.  He or she may also be graded on whether or not the work was written, edited, and ready on time.  But that person is also graded on how well he or she led a team through the process, how cordial he or she was during the presentation, and how well he or she handled difficult questions after delivering the presentation.

Mixing the hard and soft elements of learning and assessment is a complex effort.  An educational consultant can help teachers assess the right mix and the right methods for making both kinds of assessments in meaningul ways.

Whether we mix the more subtle assessments together with the "harder" numbers, or use the more subtle measurements as the majority of our student assessments, in both cases we are turning to the vast atrea known as performance-based assessment development.

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