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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.

5 Performance Assessment Design Tips from Educators

Performance assessment implementation is a years-long commitment. It's generally good practice to see what folks who've already embarked on this journey have been doing, and below you'll find pertinent advice on performance assessment and design from educators in our MCIEA districts.

Create an implementation plan with a clear focus

“We had a pretty concerted rollout plan. It was done over four two-and-a-half-hour PD sessions. We all wanted the teams and the facilitators of the PD to be on the same team, so there was a ton of behind-the-scenes work involved to help make the PD successful.” - Attleboro High School Assistant Principal

Make the time wherever you can find it

"The biggest piece of advice I would say comes from providing enough common planning time for teachers to really to be able to design and assess things together. And then to reflect on them and improve them." - Somerville High School Teacher

Think outside the box—how can a performance assessment become multi-disciplinary?

"We're trying to make sure that with our math lessons we have a writing piece brought into that as well, which we can use during the reading. And that way the students understand that what we expect for writing and math is going to be the same as what we'd expect in reading." - Revere Elementary School Teacher

Build an overarching narrative into your curriculum

"I show students a path, a way to assess an unknown piece of information out of context. I tell them to write a short essay about it and show me their deeper thinking. I do this three times over the year, so we read a primary source from the 18th century in September, the 19th century in January, and the 20th century in June. So by challenging students with the same sort of thing, but with different context over the year, they demonstrate deeper learning and growth." - Winchester High School Teacher

Give teachers the freedom to get creative

"Give teachers an opportunity to get together and collaborate. They're the people on the ground floor and they know their students best. They know their standards best. They know their content area the best. They're the people who will be able to take performance assessment design and make it their own." - Assistant Superintendent

Collaboration across grade-levels and districts is key

"We got together with teachers from another school in another district who were kindergarten teachers. We saw what they had created, and from that, we had our own discussions about what we liked about what they had done and what we would change. I think there’s something to be said for having teachers from different grade levels share what they’ve done, and then take it a step further." - Winchester Elementary School Teacher

Know who your learners are

"Make sure you have a clear understanding of your learners' interests, cultures, and experiences. Honor those and ensure that you are designing with students at the center. Get feedback from others who have different perspectives and experiences, including students." - CCE Senior Associate


Blog Post

Bringing Assessments to Life with Rapid Prototyping

May 2, 2018
QPA's Rapid Prototyping Process helps teachers produce performance assessments when time is precious, but it can also help students and the community get in on the performance assessment design process.
Blog Post

Transformation Through Performance Assessments: Attleboro High School

July 25, 2019
Attleboro High School, a member of MCIEA Cohort 1, has made great strides in Quality Performance Assessment implementation. See how they did it.
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Perfect Porridge: Searching for Balance in Environment and Assessment

October 11, 2017
Our research intern Zack Tseng wants to find a balance between flexibility and structure in curriculum and rubric design, and shows how performance assessments can lead the way.