CCE staff and partner reflections on our collaborative work to create schools where learning is engaging and rewarding, and every student is set up for success.
Blueprints for Performance Assessment Design
When we introduce Quality Performance Assessment to educators all over the country, they always want to see an example of one we consider high quality. While we do offer examples, the truth is that a high-quality assessment in one school might not be of high quality in another. When looking at the quality of an assessment, local context matters. Learners in southern California, for example, are likely going to have a hard time accessing a task scenario that asks learners to take on the role of a Zamboni operator. Likewise, learners in rural New Hampshire are likely going to struggle to access a task scenario that asks them to engage in urban planning. And both of these task scenarios might not be important to the local community’s vision of a graduate. So, when we introduce assessment examples to practitioners, we tell them that they are points of conversation, not perfection.
We know that performance assessments are necessary if we are going to understand what students can do with the skills and knowledge that they have. To demonstrate skill, you have to do. Beyond that, they are opportunities for students to practice their values in real-world scenarios and to learn how others walk in the world. The QPA team developed these blueprints as examples, starting points that can be adapted to fit local contexts. We hope our blog readers will find them useful as they develop performance assessments and that they will share back the experience for future blog posts.
Ask Your Mayor
You are riding the bus when your city/town mayor sits down across from you. They ask you if you have any thoughts you would like to share with them. You only have a minute and 30 seconds until the bus arrives at your stop. Choose an issue within your community that you are passionate about and create a one-and-a-half-minute speech explaining its importance to the mayor and lending them a potential solution.
Are You a Composer?
Music can be a very important part of storytelling, especially when listening to audio books. Your task is to create the first twenty bars of a musical composition to be used at the beginning of a recording of an audio book storybook. This composition should be connected to the overall message of the story, the setting, or the characters. Your reflection at the end will show that you understand the connections between music, math skills, and storytelling.
The Life Cycle of Plastics
There have been a plethora of news stories lately that share the negative consequences of plastics on our environment. The library has jumped into the debate and is hosting an event called, The Story of Plastic. They have asked community members to tell a story of the life cycle of a plastic from its origin to its final resting place. Stories will be delivered orally and each storyteller will also create a model to help them tell the story.
Social Media and Social Movements
You have your own regular podcast where you talk about social issues with peers your age. During your last episode, there was some debate about whether or not social media is helpful or harmful. In preparation for your next episode, you and your podcast mates have decided that you will discuss this question, “Do the benefits of social media outweigh the potential negative costs?”
There is a controversial decision being voted on in your town (for example: building shelters in neighborhoods as a temporary solution for affordable housing, investing money in a new park, etc.). At the public meeting, you may share your thoughts before the public officials vote. Working with two classmates, prepare three one- to two-minute statements explaining your views that will also address contradictory perspectives in your community.