ERIC Identifier: ED481714
Publication Date: 2003-06-00
Author: Moskal, Barbara M
Source: ERIC Clearinghouse on Assessment and Evaluation
Developing Classroom Performance Assessments and Scoring
Rubrics - Part I. ERIC Digest.
A difficulty that is faced in the use of performance assessments is
determining how the students' responses will be scored. Scoring rubrics
provide one mechanism for scoring student responses to a variety of different
types of performance assessments. This two-part Digest draws from the current
literature and the author's experience to identify suggestions for developing
performance assessments and their accompanying scoring rubrics.
The suggestions are divided into five categories:
1) Writing Goals and Objectives,
2) Developing Performance Assessments,
3) Developing Scoring Rubrics,
4) Administering Performance Assessments and
5) Scoring, Interpreting and Using Results.
"This Digest addresses the first two categories. Another Digest addresses
These categories guide the reader through the four phases of the classroom
assessment process planning, gathering, interpreting and using (Moskal,
list of suggestions provided throughout this paper are specific to
activities as opposed to informal assessment activities (Stiggins,
assessment activities refer to activities in which the students are
aware that they are
being evaluated; Informal assessment activities refer to activities
in which the students are not aware that they are being evaluated (Stiggins,
1994). Although some of these suggestions are appropriate for informal
assessments, the primary focus of this paper is upon formal assessment
The current article assumes that the reader has a basic knowledge of
both performance assessments and scoring rubrics. If these assumptions
are incorrect, the reader may wish to review prior articles on performance
assessments and scoring rubrics before reading this article. Brualdi 's
article (1998), "Implementing performance assessment in the classroom",
provides an introduction to performance assessments and how they may be
used in the classroom. Moskal (2000b) discusses the basics of scoring rubric
development in her article, "Scoring Rubrics: What, When and How?" In the
article "Designing scoring rubrics for your classroom," Mertler (2001)
outlines how to develop and implement scoring rubrics in the classroom.
WRITING GOALS AND OBJECTIVES
Before a performance assessment or a scoring rubric is written or selected,
the teacher should clearly identify the purpose of the activity. As is
the case with any assessment, a clear statement of goals and objectives
should be written to guide the development of both the performance assessment
and the scoring rubric. "Goals" are broad statements of expected student
outcomes and "objectives" divide the goals into observable behaviors (Rogers
& Sando, 1996). Questions such as, "What do I hope to learn about my
students' knowledge or skills?," "What content, skills and knowledge should
the activity be designed to assess?," and "What evidence do I need to evaluate
the appropriate skills and knowledge?", can help in the identification
of specific goals and objectives.
Recommendations for writing goals and objectives:
1. The statement of goals and accompanying objectives should provide
a clear focus for both instruction and assessment. Another manner in which
to phrase this
recommendation is that the stated goals and objectives for the performance
assessment should be clearly aligned with the goals and objectives
Ideally, a statement of goals and objectives is developed prior to
activity and is used to guide both instruction and assessment.
2. Both goals and objectives should reflect knowledge and information
that is worthwhile for students to learn. Both the instruction and the
assessment of student learning are intentional acts and should be guided
through planning. Goals and objectives provide a framework for the development
of this plan. Given the critical relationship between goals and objectives
and instruction and assessment, goals and objectives should reflect important
3. The relationship between a given goal and the objectives that describe
should be apparent. Objectives lay the framework upon which a given
goal is evaluated.
Therefore, there should be a clear link between the statement of the
goal and the
objectives that define that goal.
4. All of the important aspects of the given goal should be reflected
objectives. Once again, goals and objectives provide a framework for
attainment of a given goal. Therefore, the accompanying set of objectives
should reflect the important aspects of the goal.
5. Objectives should describe measurable student outcomes. Since objectives
provide the framework for evaluation, they need to be phrased in a manner
that specifies the student behavior that will demonstrate the attainment
of the larger goal.
6. Goals and objectives should be used to guide the selection of an
assessment activity. When the goals and objectives are focused upon
the recall of
factual knowledge, a multiple choice or short response assessment may
appropriate and efficient than a performance assessment. When the goals
objectives are focused upon complex learning outcomes, such as reasoning,
communication, teamwork, etc., a performance assessment is likely to
be appropriate (Perlman, 2002).
Writing goals and objectives, at first, appears to be a simple. After
all, this process
primarily requires clearly defining the desired student outcomes. Many
teachers initially have difficulty creating goals and objectives that can
be used to guide instruction and that can be measured. An excellent resource
that specifically focuses upon the "how to" of writing measurable objectives
is a book by Gronlund (2000). Other authors have also addressed these issues
in subsections of l arger works (e.g., Airasian, 2000; 2001; Oosterhoff,
DEVELOPING PERFORMANCE ASSESSMENT
As the term suggests, performance assessments require a demonstration
skills or knowledge (Airasian, 2000; 2001; Brualdi, 1998; Perlman,
Performance assessments can take on many different forms, which include
written and oral demonstrations and activities that can be completed by
either a group or an individual.
A factor that distinguishes performance assessments from other extended
activities is that they require students to demonstrate the application
of knowledge to a particular context (Brualdi, 1998; Wiggins, 1993). Through
observation or analysis of a student's response, the teacher can determine
what the student knows, what the student does not know and what misconceptions
the student holds with respect to the purpose of the assessment.
Recommendations for developing performance assessments:
1. The selected performance should reflect a valued activity. According
(1990), "The best tests always teach students and teachers alike the
kind of work that most matters; they are enabling and forward-looking,
not just reflective of prior teaching." He suggests the use of tasks that
resemble the type of activities that are known to take place in the workforce
(e.g., project reports and presentations, writing legal briefs, collecting,
analyzing and using data to make and justify decisions). In other words,
performance assessments allow students the opportunity to display their
skills and knowledge in response to "real" situations (Airasian, 2000;
2001; Wiggins, 1993).
2. The completion of performance assessments should provide a valuable
experience. Performance assessments require more time to administer
than do other
forms of assessment. The investment of this classroom time should result
in a higher
payoff. This payoff should include both an increase in the teacher's
what students know and can do and an increase in the students' knowledge
intended content and constructs.
3. The statement of goals and objectives should be clearly aligned with
the measurable outcomes of the performance activity. Once the task has
been selected, a list can be made of how the elements of the task map into
the desired goals and objectives. If it is not apparent as to how the students'
performance will be mapped into the desired goals and objectives, then
adjustments may need to be made to the task or a new task may need to be
4. The task should not examine extraneous or unintended variables. Examine
the task and think about whether there are elements of the task that do
not map directly into the goals and objectives. Is knowledge required in
the completion of the task that is
inconsistent with the purpose? Will lack of this knowledge interfere
or prevent the
students from completing the task for reasons that are not consistent
with the task's
purpose? If such factors exist, changes may need to be made to the
task or a new task may need to be selected.
5. Performance assessments should be fair and free from bias. The phrasing
of the task should be carefully constructed in a manner that eliminates
gender and ethnic
stereotypes. Additionally, the task should not give an unfair advantage
to a particular
subset of students. For example, a task that is heavily weighted with
baseball statistics may give an unfair advantage to the students that are
The recommendations provided above have been drawn from the broader
literary base concerning the construction of performance assessments. The
interested reader can acquire further details concerning the development
process by consulting other articles that are available through this journal
(i.e., Brualdi, 1998; Roeber, 1996; Wiggins, 1990) or books (e.g., Wiggins,
1993; 1998) that address this subject.
Boston, C. (Eds.). (2002). Understanding Scoring Rubrics. University
of Maryland, MD: ERIC Clearinghouse on Assessment and Evaluation.
Brualdi, A. (1998). "Implementing performance assessment in the classroom."
Practical Assessment, Research & Evaluation, 6(2) [On-line]. Available:
Mertler, C. A. (2001). "Designing scoring rubrics for your classroom."
Assessment, Research & Evaluation, 7(25). Available online:
Moskal, B. (2000a) "An Assessment Model for the Mathematics Classroom."
Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School, 6 (3), 192-194.
Moskal, B. (2000b). "Scoring Rubrics: What, When and How?" Practical
Assessment, Research & Evaluation, 7(3) [On-line]. Available:
Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory (2002). "Converting Rubric
Scores to Letter Grades." In C. Boston's (Eds.), Understanding Scoring
Rubrics (pp. 34-40). University of Maryland, MD: ERIC Clearinghouse on
Assessment and Evaluation.
Perlman, C. (2002). "An Introduction to Performance Assessment Scoring
Rubrics". In C. Boston's (Eds.), Understanding Scoring Rubrics (pp. 5-13).
University of Maryland, MD: ERIC Clearinghouse on Assessment and Evaluation.
Rogers, G. & Sando, J. (1996). Stepping Ahead: An Assessment Plan
Development Guide. Terra Haute, Indiana: Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.
Rudner, L.M. & Schafer, W.D. (Eds.). (2002). What Teachers Need
to Know about Assessment. Washington, DC: National Education Association.
Stiggins, R. (1994). Student-Centered Classroom Assessment. New York:
Macmillan Publishing Company.
Wiggins, G. (1990). "The case for authentic assessment." Practical Assessment,
Research & Evaluation, 2(2). Available online:
Wiggins, G. (1993). Assessing Student Performances. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass