In Praise of Performance-Based Assessmentsby: Lee-Ann Flynn

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Performance-based assessments are tasks conducted by students that enable them to demonstrate what they know about a given topic. The difference between this type of “test” versus the traditional method is that students are given the opportunity to better communicate what they learned. Therefore, the beauty of performance-based assessments is that they focus on affording students the opportunity to apply their knowledge by engaging in tasks requiring critical-thinking strategies. This article describes two performance-based assessments that were developed by the author for use with second graders and the results of these tests.

Grades
  • Elementary
Publication Date
4/1/2008

Community ActivitySaved in 413 Libraries

Reviews (12)
  • on Tue Nov 04, 2014 10:35 AM

I loved the fact that the author was a teacher! I know personally that at the school I work at we strive to do a lot of performance based assessments. The testimonials are there, you can achieve the same results if not better integrating the hands on approach versus paper and pencil assessment. I know that there are still many professional educators that are scared of implementing this, and this article reassures that is not hard to do! In today’s student market it can be beneficial to almost “trick” them into their assessment, rather than making the “Let’s take a Test!” announcement. The author reiterates this by noting that simple observations of journaling where able to give her the insight to seeing whether content mastery was met.

Lauren Abrams
Lauren Abrams

  • on Mon Oct 06, 2014 7:52 PM

After reading the article In Praise Of Performance-Based Assessments, it got me to thinking about how I could use performance based assessments to allow my students to demonstrate what they have learned about specific content using what works for each individual learner. Allowing each student to determine how they would show what they have learned for the given task would be the differentiation in my assessment. Performance based assessment would allow students like my son, the chance to show what he knows using his strengths instead of playing on his weakness of recalling the information need to answer multiple choice test questions.

Tammie
Tammie

  • on Sun Oct 05, 2014 8:46 PM

I really enjoyed reading this article even though I had just read the Assessment Article previously discussed by Demers and did not enjoy it. What a difference it makes when a teacher is writing from her personal experience! Knowing that Lee-Ann Flynn had 20 years of teaching experience and was writing the article after implementing performance-based assessment in her classroom was an eye-opener for me. She admits that she was over the high-stakes testing movement, and was sent to another meeting about state testing. She admits to being bored and out of the loop during the meeting, until the subject of science was brought up. This got her attention! She went home and read more about how to design a performance-based assessment for science and decided to give it a try! I also like the fact that Flynn address her “realistic” goal of selecting one science unit to conquer. Most people can change one thing in the curriculum and not be overwhelmed, but often in education, we are forced to abandon a program that we enjoy and just got comfortable with in favor of another one that we don’t know or understand. Taking things slowly was a good move for Flynn and gained her respect from me as a reader. I enjoyed reading her assessment about solids, liquids, and gases that was created around celebrity chef, Rachel Ray. I also believed Flynn when she stated that her students’ scores “were higher than any of the pencil and paper tests” she had given all year long. Her students enjoyed the activity and were happy to share their learning. You don’t see that happen with multiple choice bubble tests…do you?????

Lisa Boysen
Lisa Boysen

  • on Sun Oct 05, 2014 8:46 PM

I really enjoyed reading this article even though I had just read the Assessment Article previously discussed by Demers and did not enjoy it. What a difference it makes when a teacher is writing from her personal experience! Knowing that Lee-Ann Flynn had 20 years of teaching experience and was writing the article after implementing performance-based assessment in her classroom was an eye-opener for me. She admits that she was over the high-stakes testing movement, and was sent to another meeting about state testing. She admits to being bored and out of the loop during the meeting, until the subject of science was brought up. This got her attention! She went home and read more about how to design a performance-based assessment for science and decided to give it a try! I also like the fact that Flynn address her “realistic” goal of selecting one science unit to conquer. Most people can change one thing in the curriculum and not be overwhelmed, but often in education, we are forced to abandon a program that we enjoy and just got comfortable with in favor of another one that we don’t know or understand. Taking things slowly was a good move for Flynn and gained her respect from me as a reader. I enjoyed reading her assessment about solids, liquids, and gases that was created around celebrity chef, Rachel Ray. I also believed Flynn when she stated that her students’ scores “were higher than any of the pencil and paper tests” she had given all year long. Her students enjoyed the activity and were happy to share their learning. You don’t see that happen with multiple choice bubble tests…do you?????

Lisa Boysen
Lisa Boysen

  • on Sun Oct 05, 2014 7:24 PM

I really enjoyed reading this article. Lee-Ann Flynn made great points about performance based assessments. I really think that Performance based assessments are the best ways to assess our students. Students are sharing what they know through the performance based assessments and are not being tested on what they know. Performance based assessments are more of a constructed response whereas standardized tests are multiple choice and don't allow students to explain their thinking and knowledge on the content being tested. I agree with Lee-Ann that with performance based testing, that students would consider it a fun activity, not an assessment. Performance based assessment reminds me of the 5 E's - engage, explore, explain, elaborate, and evaluate. I am all for performance based assessment, especially if it enables my students to be stress free when being tested. I really enjoyed Lee-Ann's comment she said that her students scores on the tasks and journals were higher than any of the paper-and-pencil test that she had administered the entire year. This goes to show, that when students are able to explain their knowledge, they do better than when they are having to fill in bubbles on a standardized test.

Anna Golden
Anna Golden

  • on Sun Oct 05, 2014 6:10 PM

Much like Flynn, I have had the same experiences with Performance Based Assessments. When I started using them in my classroom, they changed not only the way that I viewed assessments, but the way that I look at classroom performance. This article is a great introduction and testimony to the power of using performance based assessments. The examples would also be great for a teacher to use who is just getting started using performance based assessments in their own classroom.

Merry Willis
Merry Willis

  • on Tue Jun 07, 2011 5:46 PM

Performance assessments are a fantastic method for embedding assessment into instructional activities. In this article, the author presents two performance assessments on the properties of matter. The author provides rubrics and inquiry prompts. Students will enjoy investigating a cornstarch mixture as they discuss the qualities that make it a solid or liquid. The second assessment is an inquiry into salt affecting the freezing point of a substance.

Angelika Fairweather  (Bradenton, FL)
Angelika Fairweather (Bradenton, FL)

  • on Mon Oct 13, 2014 4:07 PM

I loved the fact that the author was a teacher! I know personally that at the school I work at we strive to do a lot of performance based assessments. The testimonials are there, you can achieve the same results if not better integrating the hands on approach versus paper and pencil assessment. I know that there are still many professional educators that are scared of implementing this, and this article reassures that is not hard to do! In today’s student market it can be beneficial to almost “trick” them into their assessment, rather than making the “Let’s take a Test!” announcement. The author reiterates this by noting that simple observations of journaling where able to give her the insight to seeing whether content mastery was met.

Lauren A
Lauren A

  • on Mon Oct 06, 2014 6:07 PM

The teacher in this article the teacher is thrilled and enjoys seeing the results in her students when using performance based testing. I liked the tasks that she shared in the article. The tasks she shared are perfect to replicate in my classroom since they covered our 2nd grade standards. The questioning she used encourages the students to think critically and engages them in communicating what they know about the subject matter. She also shares that when using this type of assessment differentiation can happen easier and benefits all learners. I am looking forward to using this task in my room on matter. The use of critical thinking while making connections with content is excellent. Students today do not get ample time to talk about what they know since we are always so busy pushing standards and information in them. My misconception with performance tasks: I think I fear that I am so engrossed in teaching my content standards that I often do not hear what my students already know and need to know. Can't wait to change my perception like this teacher did in this article.

Donnetta Harike
Donnetta Harike

  • on Sun Oct 05, 2014 8:35 PM

It is nice to read about a positive and fun way of assessing our students. Multiple choice test only give a tiny glimpse of the knowledge our students have or have not gained. It is great to read that a student needs reassurance that they are being tested because they are having fun. The relaxed and safe environment she created in her classroom gave these students the opportunity to dive in and show how much they really knew about solids and liquids. It is my opinion that performance-based assessments are a much more accurate way to discover what our students have learned.

Nicole Lawton
Nicole Lawton

  • on Sun Oct 05, 2014 4:14 PM

I really liked how this article was told from a teacher’s point of view and she teaches the same grade level I do! That honestly got me hooked to keep reading and be interested. ? Also, I loved when she mentioned that differentiation could be as simple as “all students could be given the same task, but how they chose to handle it would be their individual choice.” Too often we make differentiation SO time-consuming and overcomplicated. It was also interesting to hear how she felt her students did so much better on the performance assessment than on the paper and pencil assessments given previously. Once again my only concern would be the transition from the performance based to being able to also perform on tests that aren’t hands on. However, I did really like the fact that she required them to write down their answers and explain their thinking, which does go along with what we have been told about the new Georgia Milestones.

Kelly D
Kelly D

  • on Mon Mar 21, 2011 7:42 PM

This article gives three simple performance assessments geared around the theme of solids and liquids and justifies their use in the classroom as being superior to pencil-paper tests. Blank worksheets for the assessments are also available. Read this if you are looking for hands-on performance based assessments to supplement your current assessments.

Patricia McGinnis  (Pottstown, PA)
Patricia McGinnis (Pottstown, PA)


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