Why Performance Assessment? Why Now?
And What About Accountability?
Increasing numbers of Virginia teachers are designing and using performance-based assessment in their classrooms. Many elementary and middle school teachers have found PBAs valuable, including in areas where they are being used as replacements for SOL tests. At the secondary level, performance assessment allows teachers to "go beyond the content", helping students build problem-solving, collaboration, and workforce skills.
Through performance assessments, students apply academic content and discipline-specific skills in contexts where they use the 5 Cs (communication, collaboration, critical thinking, creative thinking, and citizenship) to solve problems. They create products that document their learning rather than supplying answers to discrete, controlled-response questions. Application of academic content in a performance assessment requires deeper, more thorough understanding of content than most multiple-choice tests can assess.
Performance assessment is an important component of a balanced classroom assessment system, along with other types of measures such as quizzes and multiple-choice tests. VASCD promotes a
assessment system that is similarly balanced, so that during their K-12 experience students are required to demonstrate what they know and can do at varying levels of complexity and in multiple formats.
One example of such a system is the SOL Innovation Committee’s
Proposed Virginia Assessment System Framework
which creates the opportunity for two interdisciplinary performance assessments in science (upper elementary and middle school) and one in civics (middle school). We are interested in VASCD members' feedback and questions about the Framework, and we have initiated a "slow twitter chat" where you can comment, ask and respond to questions, and share information about performance assessment in Virginia. Tweet us with the hashtag #PBAVa.