Performance-Based Assessment


The following example is from a high school in Connecticut. The students are assigned a project which serves both as a learning task and as an assessment task. The students are presented with the outline of the task and requirements. They are also provided with an assessment rubric which informs them of the criteria for evaluating their finished work. In this example, students self-assess their work and the teacher assesses their work.


Sample:High School Performance-based Learning and Assessment Task

Environmental Impact of Building a New School on Eight Mile Brook



Recently, Region 15 approved the construction of a new elementary school on a parcel of land adjacent to Eight Mile Brook in Southbury, CT. The area slated for development, unfortunately, is partially composed of wetland habitat. Over the past several weeks, debate has been increasing over the fact that the wetland area is scheduled to be replaced by athletic fields for the new school. Eight Mile Brook runs along the edge of the proposed site of the new fields. One side cites the school's and community's need for more athletic fields, while the other side questions the need for such facilities, as well as the impact of such development on the biodiversity of the local area.


Your task is to collect data about the conditions of Eight Mile Brook and make a proposal for a management plan which will safeguard it when the new school is being built.


The audience for your report is the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the building committee for the new school.


The purpose of your study is to convince EPA officials and the community volunteers on the new school building committee to implement your plan to protect Eight Mile Brook.


  1. Review the assessment list for the management plan you will write.
  2. Write a time and task completion plan for your project so that you will be able to get work done and the report written on time.
  3. Identify the types of information and data you will need.
  4. Identify the sources of this information and data.
  5. Practice the analytic techniques you have been learning to study water quality.
  6. Write your own assessment list for such products as graphs, data charts, and maps which will be part of your final report.
  7. You will be working as part of a team to collect the type of data assigned to you. All data will be shared with all team members. Each person will write a management plan for the protection of Eight Mile Brook in building the new school.


Sample: Performance Task Assessment List

Position Paper for the Management Plan to Protect Eight Mile Brook in Southbury

Eight Mile Brook Management Plan Assessment

Assessment Points

Plan Element
Points Possible
Earned Assessment:

Problem is identified.




The methodology of the study is summarized.




Diagrams, maps, graphs and charts are effectively used to present data.




Relevant scientific concepts are used accurately.




Scientific vocabulary is explained.




Information from personal experience is used to augment information from resource materials.




The conditions of Eight Mile Brook are summarized concisely.




Recommendations for protecting Eight Mile Brook are made.




Diagrams and drawings support the descriptions of recommendations.




All recommendations are justified.




There is a powerful concluding statement of the writer's position.




The mechanics of English are correct and the writing is neat and presentable.








In this example, the teacher has pre-determined the criteria for the student project and the students are provided this criteria when assigned the project. This assessment list can help the students to monitor their progress on their project, and reduce the likelihood of spending to much time or over-emphasizing plan elements that are not the main focus of the assessment. In this example, students will apply skills and knowledge from several content areas as well as process or critical thinking skills.

Source: A Teacher's Guide to Performance-Based Learning and Assessment, ASCD