- Transitioning assessment systems
Next generation assessment systems aligned to the Common Core State Standards will feature performance assessment approaches that require complex student performances and furnish more direct evidence of hard-to-assess student knowledge and skills. This session will introduce a continuum of performance assessment approaches that can serve as a roadmap for transitioning to next generation assessments. The continuum ranges from traditional approaches (e.g., short constructed response items and essays) to more complex approaches (e.g., demonstrations, portfolios, and simulations). Presenters will demonstrate examples of these approaches, followed by a discussion of scoring considerations that affect cost, reliability, and efficiency.
Widespread adoption of the Common Core State Standards will require states to assess rigorous new content in unprecedented ways. The Standards’ focus on complex reasoning and other higher-order thinking skills necessary for success in college and careers has prompted the assessment consortia to include performance assessment components in their comprehensive assessment system plans. Individual states have followed suit, calling for interim and formative assessment solutions that incorporate performance assessment approaches. Such approaches promise many potential benefits: the assessment of student processes as well as work products; measurement of skills that have been difficult to capture using more traditional item formats; greater directness of measurement, fidelity, or authenticity; and increased transparency or meaningfulness to students, teachers, and parents.
Yet this move towards complex performance assessment represents a departure from large-scale state testing practices that developed under No Child Left Behind. Thus, as states make the journey to 2014, it is vital to offer supports for easing their transition to next generation assessments.
This session proposes to introduce and demonstrate with examples a continuum of performance assessment approaches, ranging from familiar approaches, such as short constructed response items, technology-enhanced item types, and essays, to more complex and extended approaches, such as portfolios, projects, and games or simulations. Each approach has strengths and weaknesses with respect to efficiency, reliability, authenticity, and scoring considerations that will make it more or less appropriate in specific assessment contexts. The categories in the continuum are ordered by administration time, efficiency considerations, and complexity of processing and responding to assessment activities. In general, approaches increase in length and complexity and decrease in efficiency as one moves from left to right.
This continuum represents a potential roadmap for transitioning from traditional assessment approaches to more complex next generation assessment approaches. Its purpose is to stimulate and support conversations with states and districts by offering a menu of potential options and concrete terminology to distinguish different approaches.
Emily Lai will introduce the continuum, including its purpose and the different categories. Subsequent speakers will showcase live demonstrations of current, state-of-the-art examples of several next generation assessment approaches: performance tasks, portfolios, and simulations. Presenters will illustrate how each example fulfills features that are characteristic of its respective category. Daisy Rutstein will present an interactive middle-school science performance task that asks students to design and implement an experiment. Rosemary Reshetar will present the Advanced Placement Studio Arts Portfolio, a portfolio submission (in use since the 1980s) that assesses high school students’ visual art skills. Yigal Rosen will present a simulation that requires eighth-grade students to research, develop, and record a position statement on the ethicality of captive dolphin programs using a claims-evidence concept map. Peter Foltz will then discuss scoring considerations of the various approaches to performance assessment, which might impact cost, efficiency, and reliability. Finally, Carol Parke will lead a critical discussion of the continuum as a tool for conceptualizing the transition to next generation assessment.