A Process for Designing
Performance Assessment Tasks


The following step-by-step design process may be helpful in planning and developing performance-based tasks. The questions included will guide teachers through each step of the design process. Click on the number or title for each step to further investigate the steps for designing performance assessment tasks.


Identifying Outcomes and Indicators

  • What learner outcome(s)/content standard(s) will be assessed through this task?
  • What are observable and measurable indicators or each?

Creating a Meaningful Task Context

  • What is a meaningful context for engaging students in this task?
  • What real issues, problems, themes, and student interests can help determine this context?

Identifying Products and Performances

  • What student product(s) and/or performances will provide evidence of student attainment of outcomes?
  • Will students have a choice regarding products and/or performances?

Considering Options in Task Design

  • To what extent will the task allow for student choice?
  • To what extent will students need to acquire outside resources
  • Will students work on the task individually and/or in pairs/groups?
  • To whom will students present their products and performances?
  • How long will students be involved in this task?
  • Who will be involved in evaluating student products and performances?
  • How will assessment results be reported?

Planning Task Activities

  • What activities will be included in the task?
  • Which of these activities will be scored?
  • Which indicator(s) will be assessed through each activity?

Identifying Evaluative Criteria

  • What criteria, related to identified outcomes/standards and indicators, will be used to evaluate student products and performances?
  • Do these criteria reflect the most valued elements of student performance?

Generating an Exemplary Response

  • What would an exemplary response(s) to this activity/task be? What are the key characteristics of such a response(s)?
  • Does your exemplary response clearly relate to the outcome(s) and indicator(s) that you wish to assess?

Making Decisions About Scoring

  • What is the purpose of this performance assessment task: diagnostic; formative, summative?
  • What scoring tool(s) are most appropriate given the assessment purpose?
  • What will be involved in using the scoring tool(s) for evaluation (teachers, external scorers, students, others)?

 Design Process Steps | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8

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This site was developed by the Department of Staff Development, in collaboration with the Division of Instruction. Questions, comments, and other inquiries may be addressed to Allene Chriest (achriest@pgcps.org) or Jeff Maher  (jmaher@pgcps.org).