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Performance Tasks

A performance task is any learning activity or assessment that asks students to perform to demonstrate their knowledge, understanding and proficiency. Performance tasks yield a tangible product and/or performance that serve as evidence of learning. Unlike a selected-response item (e.g., multiple-choice or matching) that asks students to select from given alternatives, a performance task presents a situation that calls for learners to apply their learning in context.

For more information of the design and use of performance tasks and performance task assessment, we’ve published a seven part series at https://blog.performancetask.com/ , authored by Jay McTighe.

Defined STEM Performance Task Project Outline

  1. Set the Stage

    1. Introduction
    2. Career Video & Guiding Questions
  2. Explore the Background (GRASP)

    1. Goal – Each performance task begins with a Goal. The goal provides the student with the outcome of the learning experience and the contextual purpose of the experience and product creation.
    2. Role – The Role is meant to provide the student with the position or individual persona that they will become to accomplish the goal of the performance task. The majority of roles found within the tasks provide opportunities for students to complete real-world applications of standards-based content. The role may be for one student or in many instances can serve as a small group experience. Students may work together or assume a part of the role based upongroup dynamics. These roles will require student(s) to develop creative and innovative products demonstrating their understanding of the content through the application of the content and a variety of skills across disciplines.
    3. Audience – The performance tasks contain an Audience component. The audience is the individual(s) who are interested in the findings and products that have been created. These people will make a decision based upon the products and presentations created by the individual(s) assuming the role within the task.
      Click here for an article on the importance of audience within a performance task.
    4. Situation – The Situation provides the participants with a contextual background for the task. Students will learn about the real-world application for the task. Additionally, this section builds connections with other sections of Defined STEM. This is the place that may invite students to consider various video resources, simulations, language tasks, and associated websites when appropriate. This section of the performance task will help the students connect the authentic experience with content and concepts critical to understanding.
    5. Products – The Products within each task are designed using the multiple intelligences. The products provide various opportunities for students to demonstrate understanding. Based upon each individual learner and/or individual class, the educator can make appropriate instructional decisions for product development. These considerations may include:
      • having a student complete all products within a task;
      • having students complete a number of products based upon content application and/or student interest;
      • having a student complete certain products based upon the educator’s decision to maximize content, concept, and skill application;
      • having student work as part of a cooperative group to complete a product or the products; and/or
      • having students complete products based upon the strength of their multiple intelligences.

      Each task contains between four and six products for development consideration. The products are meant to provide students with experiences aligned with 21stCentury Learning and Innovation Skills. Additionally, each task contains at least one product that requires the utilization of a technology-based experience. This provides the student with experiential learning opportunities based upon software and web resources and the application of these tools to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding. The products provided within each task are closely aligned with the multiple intelligences and the set of products within the task will help educators meet a number of multiple intelligences.

  3. Do the Research

    1. Learning Objects
    2. Videos
    3. Research Resources
    4. Constructed Response
  4. Design Process & Product Creation

    1. The Design Process
    2. Submitting your work
  5. Final Reflections




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