Performance-Based Assessment

This form of assessment requires students to perform hands-on tasks, such as writing an essay or conducting a science experiment. Such assessments are becoming increasingly common as alternatives good old "memorize, dump, and forget" tests. This concept is also known as authentic assessment.

When using performance assessments in outcomes-based systems, it is necessary to considering the following

Performance-Based Assessments---NSF Style

Taken from Science and Engineering Indicators '93

This method of assessment asks students to "create an answer or product that demonstrates their knowledge or skills". They may take the form of any number of tests that evaluate student performance including conducting experiments, answering open-response questions, computing mathematics equations, presenting an oral argument, writing an essay, and creating a portfolio of work accomplished throughout the school year. Performance-based assessments generally

Performance-based assessment has been gaining support as an alternative or supplement to traditional standardized tests. Proponents suggest that performance assessments more closely link assessment and instruction, more accurately measure the mathematic and scientific skills and knowledge, and allow a more complete account of student academic development.

One form of performance-based assessment is portfolio assessment. Students compile and submit a collection of work in a specific subject area completed during a given period of time. Supporters argue that portfolios encourage students to work to their best abilities and constantly improve their work. Portfolios can

Portfolios are an interesting concept in university education. For example, this department uses the portfolio method to pass on the candidacy of Ph. D. students. See my web site on portfolios.

How I Use These Ideas

If you are a student reading this, then you are probably a student in one of my classes. Whether you are a major or not, I expect that you are able to program at a level commensurate with your educational level. While there is a lot to computer science that is not directly related to programming, it is unlikely that I will be teaching such a course. This view holds for theory courses as well as in more application oriented courses.

I expect, therefore, that you can both (1) solve a program by computational means and (2) explain to me exactly how you did it. This second principle means some form of written document, either as a test or a handed-in laboratory style report.

The vast majority of your grade will be determined by meeting development milestones and your written reports.


Steve Stevenson
Last modified: Thu Aug 16 15:54:06 EDT 2001