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Strategy Use performance tasks for district assessment


A district's assessment program should be balanced. Balanced assessment within a classroom utilizes a variety of tasks types (e.g., short-answer, constructed response, multiple-choice) at varying levels of complexity. Balanced assessment at the district level utilizes commercially published standardized tests composed primarily of multiple choice items, with a few constructed response items. It should also include the administration of high-quality performance assessment tasks that provide students with an opportunity to demonstrate their mathematical knowledge across multiple process dimensions (e.g., problem solving, reasoning, communication, connections). These tasks are often situated in a relevant context and makes connections to real world and mathematical situations.

Performance tasks offer districts and teachers additional insights into students' reasoning and abilities to solve more cognitively complex non-routine problems. The tasks can be scored locally by a teachers and the results made available to students and teachers within days.

Districts, often faced with budgetary issues, may choose instruments that are easy to score, but which may not be closely aligned with the curriculum or goals for student learning. Often, the reports that are generated may not be particularly useful to teachers due to not easily interpreted statistical representations or lack of timeliness of the feedback.

This strategy describes ways to implement performance tasks to complement a districts' assessment program, including scoring and reporting considerations.

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Challenges addressed