Performance Assessments: Promises and Pitfalls
Statewide performance assessments have gone in and out of vogue for over 30 years. While embraced as authentic representations of student work, they often prove burdensome for standardized assessment purposes. They can be a strong addition to a balanced assessment system—when implemented well for the right purposes. State policymakers looking to bring performance assessments to their schools need to think deeply about their purpose and intended use.
Also In this Issue
Five states received federal waivers for regular assessments so they could pilot assessment systems in select districts or schools over five years.
By learning from the past, state boards can add depth and relevance to their assessment systems.
How alternate assessments for students with disabilities and English learners can point us toward better systems for all.
State policymakers should take the opportunity to reimagine their education systems.
Time to steer systems toward better balance and coherence.
State leaders should stick with their assessments because they improve student learning and school performance.
These questions can help frame conversations on assessment approval and intersections with state accountability.