Performance Task Assessment, sometimes referred to simply as Performance Assessment, is coming soon in a substantial and significant way to K-12 schooling; 21st century principals and other educational leaders would do well to familiarize themselves with this method and began to make plans for successful integration of this new, alternative format of assessments.
[the following 10 or so paragraphs lay out some background for my “10 Things;” scroll down to the section heading if you want to skip over the background discussion]
President Obama and Secretary Duncan have been assuring us for several years that they will take standardized testing “beyond the bubble,” and both PARCC and Smarter Balanced are working hard at developing new common core assessment using the format of perfomance task assessment.
As PARCC explains,
PARCC is… contracting with [other organizations] to develop models of innovative, online-delivered items and rich performance tasks proposed for use in the PARCC assessments. These prototypes will include both assessment and classroom-based tasks.
Smarter Balanced, meanwhile, states that by 2014-15,
Smarter Balanced assessments will go beyond multiple-choice questions to include performance tasks that allow students to demonstrate critical-thinking and problem-solving skills.
Performance tasks challenge students to apply their knowledge and skills to respond to complex real-world problems. They can best be described as collections of questions and activities that are coherently connected to a single theme or scenario.
These activities are meant to measure capacities such as depth of understanding, writing and research skills, and complex analysis, which cannot be adequately assessed with traditional assessment questions.