Performance Assessments

A performance assessment is different from a multiple-choice test in that it requires students to perform a task rather than select an answer from a ready-made list.

One type of performance assessment is called the open-ended or extended response exercise. These types of exercises are questions or other prompts that require students to explore a topic orally or in writing.

Rationale: Because they require students to actively demonstrate what they know, performance assessments may be a more valid indicator of students’ knowledge and abilities. There is a big difference between answering multiple choice questions about writing and actually writing.

A formative assessment provides feedback to the teacher for the purpose of improving instruction. Formative assessments typically count as practice, not graded work. After students respond to an initial question and teachers receive feedback from a formative assessment, teachers may choose to create an assignment or exercise from the assessment to allow students a chance to revise or extend their writing.

In  Learning by Doing (Richard DuFour) (page 214) we read about the purposes of the common formative assessment:  “…Common formative assessments are used frequently throughout the year to identify (1) individual students who need additional time and support for learning, (2) the teaching strategies most effective in helping students acquire the intended knowledge and skills, (3) program concerns – areas in which students generally are having difficulty achieving the intended standard- and (4) improvement goals for individual teachers and the team.”

It’s difficult to discuss or improve student learning if you can’t talk about something all students have participated in. Our use of common formative performance assessments will give teachers an opportunity to assess student learning and then discuss ways to improve student learning with their department colleagues.

Although the actual open-ended questions that will be used as common formative performance assessments district-wide will not be listed here, there are a number of sample questions  below.


7th Grade Sample Common Performance Assessments:

8th Grade Sample Common Performance Assessments:

9th Grade Sample Common Performance Assessments: