Performance assessment is a task students must perform instead of than write a test. For instance, in a Spanish class, students may be asked to deliver an oral presentation rather than a traditional exam. Performance assessments consist of open-ended response exercises, extended tasks and portfolios. In an open-ended response exercise, students describe their observations from an experiment or enacting historical events. An extended task may include drafting a story or conducting and explaining the results of an experiment, in particular one that requires a fair amount of time. Portfolios highlight a student’s best work from a term or course and incorporate various performance-based pieces.
Performance assessment involves students taking part in skill building activities rather than answering questions about how to perform those skills on paper. Features of a performance assessment task are: a) real-world scenarios, b) authentic and a complex process, c) higher-order thinking and d) transparent evaluation criteria. Performance assessment is a good opportunity for professors to personalize their courses and can act as an effective formative assessment when combined with other forms of assessment.