Performance-Based Assessment

     Performance-based assessment is an alternative form of assessment that moves away from traditional paper and pencil tests. Performance-based assessment involves having the students produce a project, whether it is oral, written or a group performance. The students are engaged in creating a final project that exhibits their understanding of a concept they have learned.

     A unique quality of performance-based assessment is that is allows the students to be assessed based on a process. The teacher is able to see first hand how the students produce language in real-world situations. In addition, performance-based assessments tend to have a higher content validity because a process is being measured. The focus remains on the process, rather than the product in performance-based assessment.

     There are two parts to performance-based assessments. The first part is a clearly defined task for the students to complete. This is called the product descriptor. The assessments are either product related, specific to certain content or specific to a given task. The second part is a list of explicit criteria that are used to assess the students. Generally this comes in the form of a rubric. The rubrics can either be analytical, meaning it assesses the final product in parts, or holistic, meaning that is assesses the final product as a whole.

     Performance-based assessment tasks are generally not as formally structured. There is room for creativity and student design in performance-based tasks. Generally, these tasks measure the students when they are actually performing the given task. Due to the nature of these tasks, performance-based assessment is highly interactive. Students are interacting with each other in order to complete real-world examples of language tasks. Also, performance-based assessment tends to integrate many different skills. For example, reading and writing can be involved in one task or speaking and listening can be involved in the same task.

     Performance-based assessment is an opportunity to allow students to produce language in real-world contexts while being assessed. This type of assessment is unique because it is not a traditional test format. Some examples of performance-based assessment tasks are as follows:

Types of Performance-Based Assessment:

1. Journals
    Students will write regularly in a journal about anything relevant to their life, school or thoughts. Their writing will be in the target language. The teacher will collect the journals periodically and provide feedback to the students. This can serve as a communication log between the teacher and students.

2. Letters
The students will create original language compositions through producing a letter. They will be asked to write about something relevant to their own life using the target language. The letter assignment will be accompanied by a rubric for assessment purposes.

3. Oral Reports
The students will need to do research in groups about a given topic. After they have completed their research, the students will prepare an oral presentation to present to the class explaining their research. The main component of this project will be the oral production of the target language.

4. Original Stories
The students will write an original fictional story. The students will be asked to include several specified grammatical structures and vocabulary words. This assignment will be assessed analytically, each component will have a point value.

5. Oral Interview
An oral interview will take place between two students. One student will ask the questions and listen to the responses of the other student. From the given responses, more questions can be asked. Each student will be responsible for listening and speaking.

6. Skit
The students will work in groups in order to create a skit about a real-world situation. They will use the target language. The vocabulary used should be specific to the situation. The students will be assess holistically, based on the overall presentation of the skit.

7. Poetry Recitations
After studying poetry, the students will select a poem in the target langugage of their choice to recite to the class. The students will be assessed based on their pronunciation, rhythm and speed. The students will also have an opportunity to share with the class what they think the poem means. 

8. Portfolios
Portfolios allow students to compile their work over a period of time. The students will have a checklist and rubric along with the assignment description. The students will assemble their best work, including their drafts so that the teacher can assess the process.

9. Puppet Show
The students can work in groups or individually to create a short puppet show. The puppet show can have several characters that are involved in a conversation of real-world context. These would most likely be assessed holistically.

10. Art Work/ Designs/Drawings
This is a creative way to assess students. They can choose a short story or piece or writing, read it and interpret it. Their interpretation can be represented through artistic expression. The students will present their art work to the class, explaining what they did and why.

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