> Vol 5 . . . No 4 . . . December, 1995
Performance Assessment InstrumentsThe ultimate question is whether or not the students can perform at a reasonably high standard the kinds of tasks identified in the student outcomes section of the learning plan as essential. Performance assessment requires action beyond pen and pencil tests.
The Bellingham Public Schools successfully implemented technology-related performance assessment with samples of 5th graders from all 12 elementary schools in Fall of '95. Middle and high school versions will be introduced in Spring of '96.
Because the District Technology Plan (Go on the Web to the Technology Plan) calls for the development of three main skills (communicating, analyzing data and solving problems), the performance task asks teams of four students to spend three hours studying data about accidents in order to prepare a multimedia report recommending action to the government. When done, the quality of each performance is rated for 1) cooperative group problem-solving behaviors, 2) thoughtful analysis of the data, and 3) persuasiveness of the presentation.
During this 3 hour exercise, students must crunch numbers with a spreadsheet, create charts, cull critical information from an electronic encyclopedia to place in a database and gather all their findings and recommendations into presentation software. (Go on the Web to the BPS Performance Assessment Instrument)
What did we learn from the first assessment of 5th graders? In most cases, the schools were pleased with the students' technology proficiencies (creating a chart with a spreadhseet, for example) but were disappointed in their attempts at teamwork and analysis. The Fall assessment has challenged the schools to find ways to bring classroom experiences more in line with the goals of the district plan so that 5th graders will grow enough by June to demonstrate enhanced skills.
The Sad and Sorry State of Technology Program Assessment---Hypotheses for the Sad and Sorry State---Why Bother? What's the Pay-Off?---The Centrality of Clear Goals and Outcome Statements---Assessment for Navigation---Self-Assessment Instruments---Performance Assessment Instruments---When all is said and done---Resources
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