COMPONENTS OF EFFECTIVE PERFORMANCE ASSESSMENTS



By Barry Sweeny, Copyright 1996
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To be a quality assessment, all of the following elements must be included, documented, and familiar to staff using the assessment.


1. THE OUTCOME (Content & Skills Standard) Be sure to use action verbs & to specify process & thinking desired.

2. PERFORMANCE TASK(S) which are sufficient to reveal mastery of all the content, thinking levels, and skills described by the outcome:
· VERBS -Use action verbs which retain the same levels of thinking as the outcome
· TASKS -Create appropriate student choices for Product, Process, Content, Thinking and Structure
- Meaningful, engaging contexts
- Include real-life problems, processes & audiences
NOTE: a task may reveal mastery of several outcomes.

3. FEATURES - Each aspect of the outcome to be assessed by the task needs a feature on the rubric. Usually the features are listed down the left side of the rubric so the main issues of the assessment are most visible and are read first.

4. A RUBRIC WITH CRITERIA ON A SCALE FOR EACH FEATURE.
ie. Indicators or criteria that both describe and distinguish each level of quality on a continuum from worst to best. Each aspect (feature) of the outcome for which you assess needs its own scale on the rubricwith these levels of quality.

5. GRADE-LEVEL APPROPRIATE "CUT SCORES" ON THE RUBRIC
Include a "performance level" for each assessment task & the overall requirement for combining all the assessments related to the outcome so you can determine if students are "meeting the standard for the whole outcome".

6. DOCUMENTATION FOR THE TASK, DIRECTIONS & SCORING TOOLS
The documentation is for others who like and want to borrow your assessment or, who later may need to revise and build on your work. You do not want them starting from scratch as you probably had to. You also don't want them using an assessment you designed for a different purpose than what you used to make your assessment design decisions.

7. STUDENT WORK & DATA COLLECTED FROM A FIELD TEST & PILOT.

The work & data are used to check that the assessment has worked as planned and that it is of acceptable technical quality. The student work is the beginning of your collection of anchors (see below).

8. DOCUMENTATION OF RESULTS CHECKED FOR VALIDITY, INTER-RATER RELIABILITY & FAIRNESS. If you don't know if an assessment is reliable or valid or fair, why would you use it to provide you with feed back that may shape your decisions? As difficult as this area is, we can not expect to improve schools with poor data because the improvements we seek will not happen!

This documentation is needed for the stake holders like parents, who may want to know if an assessment is a quality measure of their child's learning.

9. A SET OF ANCHORS - Student work for each level on the rubric is a powerful and necessary adjunct to the rubric. When kids and teachers can both read and see what excellence looks like, they are on their way to achieving it because the mystery about what constitutes excellence is removed! Anchors could include actual work, video or audio tapes of products or performances, and photographs or duplicated copies.


You may duplicate this material as long as you retain these credits:
By Barry Sweeny, Resources for Staff and Organization Development
26 W 413 Grand Ave. Wheaton, IL 60187 (630) 668-2605, email is [email protected]


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