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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.

What Does a Performance Assessment Look Like? Here Are Six Examples

On February 27, the education community gathered in Boston to think beyond standardized tests, and consider a new vision for how we measure student learning and school quality in Massachusetts. The gathering focused on the Massachusetts Consortium for Innovative Education Assessment (MCIEA), a grassroots partnership of districts founded in 2016 to offer an antidote to the current statewide assessment system—Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS).  MCIEA proposes a more robust system of multiple school quality measures, with performance assessment as the primary way to assess student learning. They are building out this model now in their six partner districts (Attleboro, Boston, Lowell, Revere, Somerville, and Winchester) with support from CCE.  

Teachers across all MCIEA districts are building their skills and knowledge in designing Quality Performance Assessments that engage students in ways that standardized tests cannot, giving learners more say in how they demonstrate what they know and can do.  

So what exactly does a performance assessment look like?

These six posters (below) were presented at the gathering and feature performance assessments created by MCIEA teachers, bringing to life the multi-step, often interdisciplinary nature of the performance assessments. They connect the assessments with academic and 21st century learning targets, illustrate open-ended and relevant learning experiences, and elevate the voice of teachers and their critical role in designing engaging, valid, and reliable assessment experiences for students. Take a look! 

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Third grade students in Boston applied their understanding of area and perimeter to design a layout for the school’s STEAM Showcase.

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Guided by the essential question “How does our culture affects us individually and as a community?”, middle school students in Revere presented their findings at the school’s Culture Night.  

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Seventh grade students in Somerville created a podcast that presented original proposals for steps an international aid organization could take to advance equity in South Africa. 

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Applying their knowledge of multiplication and division paired with their skills in writing cohesive explanatory texts, third grade students in Lowell planned their own field trip.

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Based on their understanding on Newton’s Laws, 9th grade students in Attleboro designed, built, and tested a Newton Car by manipulating common household materials.

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Sixth grade students in Winchester worked together to design and co-construct a 2-D model representing the unique attributes of Fertile Crescent civilizations. 

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