Creating Performance
Tasks
In six easy steps :)
What is a performance task?
A performance task is a task that a student completes that results in a product of
some kind. ...
What is the rationale for the implementation of
performance tasks?
Why create and implement performance tasks?
I think we ...
Step 1: Clarify the target(s). What is it that you want students to understand
and/or know?
For this example, I know I wan...
During this step...
When considering what kind of task you develop, you have choices. There are restricted-type
tasks and ...
Step 4: Develop performance criteria.
What constitutes quality in a restricted-type performance task? A quality performanc...
Step 6: Develop your scoring rules.
criteria beginning developing got it
clear learning targets
The “what”
I cannot tell w...
Recording Sheet
Step 1: My learning targets are:
Step 2: The task I will be asking my students to do is:
Step 3: An in-dep...
Guiding Questions Self-Check
For Step 1:
• Are these targets directly tied to CCSS?
• If students hit these targets, will ...
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Creating Performance Tasks Easy Steps

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Teacher Leaders: Leading Change in Difficult Times
What will schools look like 20 years from now? What role should teacher leaders play in this process? Come hear a national presenter discuss lessons learned from the nations’ most rapidly improving schools. This presentation looks at moving to CCSS using high levels of rigor for student learning and preparing classrooms for high student engagement.
Presenter: Bobby Ashley - Jefferson, NC

Published in: Education
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Creating Performance Tasks Easy Steps

  1. 1. Creating Performance Tasks In six easy steps :)
  2. 2. What is a performance task? A performance task is a task that a student completes that results in a product of some kind. The word performance relates to the fact that students are having to perform, or do something with the knowledge, in some way. The following page includes characteristic of performance tasks for you to be able to begin building a solid, cohesive definition of a performance task. Characteristics of Performance Tasks: • students must create, construct, or produce some product real world contexts • deep understanding and/or reasoning skills are needed and assessed • more than one standard/concept is assessed through the task • requires students to explain, justify AND defend • involves engaging ideas of importance and substance - real world contexts • typically, there is no single “correct” answer • very difficult to cheat on a performance task • emphasis is on what students will do, as opposed to what they recall • scoring criteria and standards are made public and transparent • learning occurs while students complete the task • feedback can be provided as task is completed
  3. 3. What is the rationale for the implementation of performance tasks? Why create and implement performance tasks? I think we can all agree that when our students are able to transfer learning they do in one context and setting (the classroom), to another context and setting (the world outside of school), in order to solve real-world, unpredictable problems, they have succeeded at the highest level. If the goal of education is to prepare students for life outside of the classroom, transfer is essential. Performance tasks create conditions for transfer in an optimal learning situation. Optimal because the teacher creates the problems to solve with the understanding of specific knowledge, skills and understanding students need in order to achieve their learning goals. The closer we can get to matching what our students will be confronted with in the real world, the more equipped and confident they will be in problem-solving (in or outside of the classroom). Performance tasks are great practice to this end. Although assessments and tasks that require student recall and comprehension of discrete facts and skills are at times important for learning and building required background, the application and synthesis of those skills are essential for transfer. Performance tasks are an extremely effective avenue for application, synthesis and evaluation. Therefore, our goal of transfer is far more likely when students are given opportunities afforded in performance tasks. OK, so how do I create one?
  4. 4. Step 1: Clarify the target(s). What is it that you want students to understand and/or know? For this example, I know I want teachers to have a foundational understanding about (a) the rationale for why performance assessments are effective means of learning and assessing, (b) how to create a performance task in their content area, (c) how to evaluate the quality of the performance task created, using guiding questions. So, evidence of teacher understanding for me would be (a) a teacher that can articulate the “why” behind the development of performance tasks, (b) the creation of a high-quality performance task, and (c) a reflective statement evaluating the performance task’s effectiveness. My Targets: (what I’d like my teachers to know/be able to do) 1. Articulate the rationale for performance tasks in education. 2. Know and understand the elements and characteristics of PTs. 3. Create a high-quality performance task. Step 2: Identify the task which will engage students. This task could be used for both a centerpiece for instruction as well as an assessment. It should derive from the targets from Step 1. For my purpose, the development of an actual product (a performance task) is the ideal task for my group of teachers. This task cannot be completed unless my students have an understanding (competency) of targets 2 and 3. Guiding questions to make sure I’m on the right track... • Is this task requiring knowledge and understanding of more than one concept? • Is this task requiring the student to do something with the knowledge and understanding? • Is this task authentic (something done in the real-world)? • Does the completion of this task provide evidence of understanding and/or reasoning derived from the learning targets? • Is this task challenging, engaging and worthy of spending time and effort on? • Is the product created unique to each individual? •
  5. 5. During this step... When considering what kind of task you develop, you have choices. There are restricted-type tasks and extended-type tasks. For our purposes this time through, we will be focused on restricted-type tasks. As we learn more, we will delve deeper, moving to extended-type tasks as that occurs. Restricted-type tasks are structured and specific. They are generally considered less authentic than extended-type tasks, but they are a good place to begin. Here are some examples of what restricted-type tasks might include: • drawing a diagram with an articulation about the content • constructing a map, graph or flowchart with explanations • reviewing a map, article or graph and analyzing in order to solve a problem posed • listening to news story and evaluating whether or not the story is biased and why • from nutritional information provided about a random sample of food, create a healthy meal and defend why you consider it the healthiest choice from the list. • upon being given information about X, come up with claims, evidence and defend the validity Step 3: Develop descriptions of the task, the steps involved, and the context in which the performance will be conducted. For this step, the teacher has to think about what students will need to do to prepare for the final product. This includes the steps and processes a student must go through to complete it as well as what a quality finished product looks like. Because you want the performance task to be as authentic as possible ask yourself the following questions: • Is it realistic? • Does it require judgment and innovation to solve unpredictable problems, as opposed to following a set of routine rules and procedures? • Does it require the student to carry out some exploration (synthesis) of the subject, rather than restating what is known or already taught? • Does it replicate real world contexts such as the workplace, civic life or personal life? • Does it require the integration of knowledge and skills, rather than demonstration of isolated facts and skills? • Does it allow opportunities for feedback to enable refinement of the final product?
  6. 6. Step 4: Develop performance criteria. What constitutes quality in a restricted-type performance task? A quality performance task is one that is meaningful, relevant and authentic. It is interesting and engaging for students and requires the student to show evidence of knowing, understanding and applying. It includes all the necessary elements of a performance task and is ultimately viable and reliable evidence of student learning. In a quality performance task, the answers to each question in step 3 would be “yes”, it has clear learning targets, and directions and descriptions that make it clear to students what they will need to do in order to produce highest quality work. The performance task has a feedback cycle built into it to allow the learner to know where they are on their learning trajectory. Step 5: Write a specific question, prompt or problem the student will receive, along with the directions. You are charged with the development of a high-quality (restricted-type) performance task. The task should be clearly written, with directions written in a sequence that makes sense, is easy-to- follow and includes everything a student needs to know in order to produce a high-quality product, including the grading criteria and clear models. Please feel free to explore and research other suggestions and information regarding performance tasks. The use of the recording sheet (attached) or your own method of including all attributes is expected. Guiding questions, the rubric, myself and colleagues can act as elements of feedback for the development of your quality product. The completion of the performance task is expected within one month of receiving the initial support. Please feel free to contact me with questions, comments or concerns regarding this performance task.
  7. 7. Step 6: Develop your scoring rules. criteria beginning developing got it clear learning targets The “what” I cannot tell what the target is by reading them. I can imagine what the learning targets might be. I can articulate precisely what the learning targets are. task is clearly identified The “what” and the “why” The task is not clear - I am left with several questions about it. The task is somewhat clear, but there are elements that need further clarification. The task is completely clear. I have no questions about what the task is and why I am completing it. descriptions and context The “what”, “where”, and “when” The description of the task leave me with several questions. The descriptions are somewhat clear, but there are elements that need clarification The descriptions are completely clear. I have no questions about what the task is and why I am completing it. steps and directions The “what” and “how” Steps seem to be missing or out of sequence. Steps make sense, but I am left with a few questions. Steps are completely clear - I understand how I will complete it. scoring criteria is transparent The “how well” I’m not sure how the product will be evaluated. I’m fairly sure of how the product will be evaluated, but still have a question about it. I understand precisely how the product will be evaluation. authentic, rigorous and relevant The “why” The task isn’t something authentic and I don’t recognize the relevance. The task is either authentic or relevant, but not both. The task is authentic and relevant.
  8. 8. Recording Sheet Step 1: My learning targets are: Step 2: The task I will be asking my students to do is: Step 3: An in-depth description of the task: Step 4: Clear performance criteria (rubric, models, etc.): Step 5: Task with clear directions: Step 6: Scoring rules:
  9. 9. Guiding Questions Self-Check For Step 1: • Are these targets directly tied to CCSS? • If students hit these targets, will it be clear evidence that they have learned intended skills and knowledge? For Step 2: • Does the task represent rigorous, real-world application? • Is the task compelling (relevant and important)? • Is the end product unique to each individual? For Step 3: • Is the purpose and goal of the task evident and clear to students? • Are the directions to the task clear? • Is there a feedback loop built into the task? For Step 4: • Does the learner understand how they will evaluate their own work? • Is there a rubric, model and/or checklists to help the learner understand if they are on the right track? For Step 5: • Does the learner clearly understand the task? • Are all the steps or other important information represented in the task? For Step 6: • Has the learner been given (or helped develop) the scoring rules? • Are the scoring rules understood and seen as beneficial for all involved?

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