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Designing for Deeper Learning: Implementing Performance Tasks (Winter 2017)

Tuesday, February 28, 2017 to Tuesday, May 16, 2017
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The Course

Given their emphasis on complex and sophisticated disciplinary skills and understandings, the Common Core State Standards, Next Generation Science Standards and C3 Framework for State Social Studies Standards require ways of assessing that go beyond routine multiple-choice tests. Whether students are learning to select, use, and explain evidence to support a claim or to analyze data to evaluate a hypothesis, tests that require that students only bubble in a scantron are inadequate to measure (or support) students' learning and growth. Performance assessments are more suited to this task. While performance assessments vary along multiple dimensions, including duration and focus, they all demand that students use and apply critical skills and knowledge to demonstrate understanding.

This ten-week course will focus on the wise implementation of performance assessments and the use of student work products to inform task design and subsequent instruction. Course activities include selecting and adapting a performance assessment to be used in a specific course, implementing that task, and evaluating student work to learn more about the task and students' learning. We will use a learning-centered approach where assessments are not only about measuring learning, but are also events for learning.
The main objectives of this course are for participants to:

  • Select and adapt a high-quality performance task that is aligned with (and embedded within) a curricular unit of study;
  • Develop a set of considerations for effective implementation of performance tasks;
  • Begin to use data from performance tasks to tailor and improve instruction and curriculum;
  • Become familiar with freely-available resources that support the wise use of performance assessments in K-12 classrooms;
  • Contribute to building a community of educators focused on using performance-based assessments to identify and develop students' abilities.

More Information

This course is the second in a series and is open to those who participated in the first course and new participants. The first course, Designing for Deeper Learning: How to Develop Performance Tasks, focused on designing performance assessments and participants in that course designed a performance assessment that they can implement and evaluate in this course. For those who did not participate in that course, the initial sessions in this Implementing course will guide you in selecting and adapting a performance task for your local context.

This MOOC is designed for K-12 educators. We also welcome other educators and policymakers. It is recommended that participants currently teach or have access to a classroom where they can implement their chosen assessment. The target month for implementing that assessment is April 2017. However, there will be alternate options for those who are unable to implement during this month.

Participants will work collaboratively with other educators to accomplish learning goals and complete assignments. We encourage and welcome school, district, or region-based teams to participate and combine our online resources with in-person meetings. We call this a hybrid approach and you can find more information about that approach and our MOOCs here.

The Instructors

Daisy Martin

Director of History/Social Studies Learning at UL-SCALE

Daisy Martin's professional work focuses on the teaching and learning of historical thinking and literacy. She has co-created several digital projects that make research-based, high-quality teaching resources freely available, and has worked with teachers nationwide on designing and using curricula and performance-based assessments. Daisy is a co-founder of the Stanford History Education Group and co-led Her current projects include researching challenges and successes faced by educators in implementing coherent performance assessment systems and working with history teachers in multiple states to design, implement, and learn from curriculum-embedded performance assessments. A former history and civics teacher, Daisy holds a doctorate from Stanford University and a BA in history/philosophy from the University of Michigan.

Ruth Chung Wei

Director of Assessment Research and Development at UL-SCALE

Ruth Chung Wei is currently Director of Assessment Research and Development at Stanford Center for Assessment, Learning, and Equity (SCALE), where she leads the design and research on performance-based assessments used in K-12 schools and in teacher education programs. Her current research is focused on the potential of performance assessments to serve as measures of student learning and growth, and the effectiveness of tools and protocols for improving the quality of teacher-designed performance assessments. A former secondary school teacher in the New York City public schools, Ruth Chung Wei completed her doctorate in education at Stanford University.

Designing for Deeper Learning

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