The Best Resources For Learning About Performance Assessment


This is the second-to-last in a series of “The Best…” lists related to student assessment. The next, and last, post in the series will related to grading.

This post focuses on “performance assessment.” Here’s how Linda Darling-Hammond describes it:

For many people, performance assessment is most easily defined by what it is not:specifically, it is not multiple-choice testing. In a performance assessment, ratherthan choosing among pre-determined options, students must construct an answer,produce a product, or perform an activity. From this perspective, performance assessment encompasses a very wide range of activities, from completing a sentence with a few words (short-answer), to writing a thorough analysis (essay), to conducting and analyzing a laboratory investigation (hands-on).

Because they allow students to construct or perform an original response rather than just recognizing a potentially right answer out of a list provided, performance assessments can measure students’ cognitive thinking and reasoning skills and their ability to apply knowledge to solve realistic, meaningful problems.

Here are other “The Best…” lists on student assessment:

The Best Resources For Learning About Formative Assessment

The Best Resources On ELL’s & Standardized Tests
The Best Posts On How To Prepare For Standardized Tests (And Why They’re Bad)
The Best Articles Describing Alternatives To High-Stakes Testing

Here are my choices for The Best Resources Learning About Performance Assessment:

Beyond Basic Skills:The Role of Performance Assessment in Achieving 21st Century Standards of Learning is by Linda Darling-Hammond and others.

Deborah Meier’s education advice to Obama is an excellent column in the Washington Post about “performance assessment” in evaluating both students and teachers. This is an excellent, and useful, alternative to the evaluative processes that are used right now in schools.

The Other Kind of Testing is by Walt Gardner at Education Week.

The Forum on Capitol Hill Series: Assessments for Learning – A Briefing on Performance-Based Assessments.

Performance Assessment in an Era of Standards-Based Educational Accountability is from The Rand Corporation.

Student Performance Assessment Series: Performance Assessments for English Language Learners

Intriguing alternative to rating schools by tests is by Jay Mathews at The Washington Post.

Developing Performance Assessment Tasks is from the Prince George’s County Schools.

Performance Assessment Examples looks very useful.

What is Performance-Based Learning and Assessment, and Why is it Important? is from ASCD.

Performance Assessment comes from

Feedback is welcome.

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You might also want to explore the 1000 other “The Best…” lists I’ve compiled.

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Larry Ferlazzo

Larry Ferlazzo has been a high school teacher since 2003 after spending nineteen years working as a community organizer. He teaches Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced English Language Learners (as well as native English speakers) at Luther Burbank High School in Sacramento, California.