A professional learning webinar hosted by CAE explores how educators from different districts use performance tasks to measure the skills their students learned, rather than what they can recall

NEW YORK, October 3, 2022 | Source: GlobeNewswire

The Council for Aid to Education, Inc. (CAE), a developer of assessments that measure students’ academic and career readiness skills, last month hosted a panel discussion with education experts on the use of performance-based assessments to authentically measure student learning. The session was attended by more than 300 educators from around the world and is now available for free viewing on CAE’s website.

Titled “Using Performance-Based Assessment to Authentically Measure Student Learning”, the webinar was moderated by Doris Zahner Ph.D, chief academic officer, CAE, and featured Stacey Sparks, senior director of content design and development, CAE as well as leaders from two school districts. “States and districts across the country are looking for better, more authentic ways to measure their students’ strengths and opportunities for growth,” said Zahner. “We’re grateful our colleagues were willing to participate in this important discussion about the value and feasibility of performance tasks so others
can learn from their example.”

The district leaders shared first-hand experiences using performance tasks for formative and summative assessment and explored the benefit of the insights they yield as compared to using multiple-choice questions, including standardized tests. They described how performance-based assessments go beyond a numeric score, providing teachers with a more qualitative understanding of how a student is doing in class and enabling a more authentic conversation about their readiness to take on more complex work.

Mary Jo Conery, Ed.D, associate superintendent, Catalina Foothills School District in Arizona explained how they use summative performance-based  assessments to measure and report student progress to the community, parents and the Board of Education. Her schools integrate authentic performance tasks into assessments, starting in first grade and continuing through 12th, to understand whether their students are developing the skills they need to be successful in school as well as in college and the workforce.

“State assessments can’t be the only measure of how our students are doing,” said Conery. “We want to see how they apply skills in a context other than classroom learning. For example, we use performance tasks focused on collaboration because we want our students to know that in the real world, people work together. Collaboration is something you're expected to do in school and outside of school.”

The presenters shared key success factors for K-12 teachers, counselors and district leaders to consider when instituting performance-based assessments:

  • Involve teachers throughout the implementation
  • Start small, with as little as one task
  • Think how you can embed performance tasks into the curriculum
  • Make sure they generate instructionally relevant results
  • Plan time for teacher training and development

To learn more about performance-based assessments and receive a sample performance task assessment, visit https://cae.org/contact-us/.

About CAE
Since 2002, CAE has developed performance-based and custom assessments that authentically measure students’ essential academic and career skills. Our Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA+) and Success Skills Assessment (SSA+) for higher education and College and Career Readiness Assessment
(CCRA+) for secondary education evaluate the skills that are predictive of positive college and career outcomes and in demand by employers: critical thinking, problem solving and effective written communication. Over 825,000 students at more than 1,300 secondary and higher education institutions globally have completed CAE’s essential skills assessments.

As a non-profit whose mission is to improve student outcomes, CAE also offers critical thinking skills curriculum, professional development, and designs custom, innovative performance assessments across all subject areas and grades. To learn more, please visit www.cae.org and follow us on LinkedInYouTube, and Twitter.