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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.

Bringing Assessments to Life with Rapid Prototyping

Prototypes help designers bring their ideas to life without wasting expensive and precious resources. Because a teacher’s most precious resource is time, the QPA team developed a Rapid Prototyping Process that allows teachers to flush out a performance assessment design in ninety minutes or less. Timed design and strategically-placed feedback loops allow each practitioner in the room to create a task aligned to competencies and transferable skills. After the ninety minutes, teachers can work together to fully develop one assessment or can continue to develop individual assessments.

We’ve used this in multiple applications with big groups and small and it has really transformed the way teachers think about themselves as assessment designers. Here is some feedback from recent sessions:

  • “I had the opportunity to really think about whether the task I am making is directly assessing the standards that I think I am assessing.”
  • “I liked the feedback from the other ⅔ of my triad about my idea.”
  • “It was helpful to have conversations with others about the process and their growth.”
  • “It was fun. We don’t get to have these conversations with our peers that often and they helped my task grow so much in such a short amount of time.”
  • “I liked the timing. It didn’t allow us time to overthink.”

Teachers aren’t the only ones who can use this process, however. There is also a space for students and members of the community to get in on the process ensuring assessments are authentic, relevant and engaging and aligned to rigorous expectations.

Click image to zoom-in.


Students can and must be a part of any school transformation, and our rapid prototyping approach is adaptable for this population as well. For students who are familiar with the competencies and transferable skills they are being asked to demonstrate, these three questions are a breeze. The last rapid fire questions offers them an opportunity to think about how they can demonstrate skills and to begin thinking about transferring skills and knowledge to new contexts. In the remaining questions, students really dive deep into new contexts and situations as they consider the next question “Why in the real world would someone create that product or do those skills?”


This process can even work as a way to engage community members in the early stages of school change. While community members might need some support on the first two rapid fire questions, if they are less familiar with the language of the competencies or transferable skills, they will be most familiar with finding real world contexts and authentic applications for skills and knowledge identified. As schools look to develop authentic assessments, purposefully bringing in community members at the start of the design process is a strategy to include authentic real world contexts. When community members who hold different roles get involved in this process in the early stages, there are many new possibilities.

We are excited to continue to use the rapid prototyping process with educators at the start of their performance assessment journey and to explore how we can include students and other stakeholders in the process. Since time is a precious commodity, tools that allow wide engagement early in the design process without being cumbersome and time-consuming are invaluable.


Blog Post

Integrating the Arts and Quality Performance Assessment

March 21, 2017
"The goals of arts integrated tasks align strongly with QPA tasks, creating the potential for even higher quality tasks when the two are used together. When done well, arts integrated QPA tasks increase student engagement in their learning by connecting to relevant topics and expanding the ways students can represent their learning."
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A Timeline for Quality Performance Assessment Work

June 9, 2016
Thinking about including more performance assessment as an approach to project-based, deeper learning? Planning the next steps in building your staff members’ performance assessment literacy? Use this sample timeline as a resource when creating your action plan.
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How Can I Tell if a School Is Using Performance Assessments?

April 24, 2017
CompetencyWorks' Chris Sturgis interviews Laurie Gagnon on the ins and outs of performance assessment.