Traditional testing helps answer the question, “Do you know it?” and performance assessment helps answer the question, “How well can you use what you know?” These two ways of looking at literacy do not compete; the challenge is to find the right balance between them (Figure 2).
Whereas you decide what to teach, performance-based learning and assessment constitute a better way to deliver your curriculum.
Teachers do not have to “give up” units of study or favorite activities in a performance-based classroom.
Performance-based learning and assessment achieve a balanced approach by extending traditional fact-and-skill instruction (Figure 1).
Performance-based learning and assessment are not a curriculum design.
Parents can also use assessment lists to monitor their student's work in school and to help their children check their own work at home.
This chapter includes several examples of assessment lists; the first three are lists for assessing student-made graphs.Time management, individual responsibility, honesty, persistence, and intrapersonal skills, such as appreciation of diversity and working cooperatively with others, are examples of work habits necessary for an individual to be successful in life.Performance tasks build on earlier content knowledge, process skills, and work habits and are strategically placed in the lesson or unit to enhance learning as the student “pulls it all together.” Such performance tasks are not “add-ons” at the end of instruction.Because authentic tasks are rooted in curriculum, teachers can develop tasks based on what already works for them.Through this process, assignments become more authentic and more meaningful to students.The development of performance-assessment tasks is no exception.With a little practice, however, teachers find that they can easily and quickly develop performance tasks and assessment lists.Higher-order thinking or process skills can come from the various disciplines, such as writing or proofreading from language arts or math computation and problem-solving skills.Other process skills cut across subject area lines or may be identified as areas of need based on standardized testing (e.g., analogies, categorizing information, drawing inferences, etc.).Sometimes students can help in constructing these tasks and assessment lists.The following are three performance tasks that call for graphs: Performance task assessment lists are assessment tools that provide the structure students need to work more independently and to encourage them to pay attention to the quality of their work.