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Performance Tasks for English Language Arts

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1 Performance Tasks for English Language Arts
Welcome to the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium’s English Language Arts Performance Task Training Module. This module will describe performance tasks in detail and provide examples of key features of the performance tasks that will form an important part of the Smarter Balanced Assessment System.

2 Performance Tasks Measure complex assessment targets
Demonstrate ability to think and reason Higher-order skills Produce fully developed writing or speeches Provide evidence of college and career readiness The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium uses performance tasks to {+} measure complex targets from multiple claims that require analytical thinking, evaluation, and evidence that supports students’ responses to texts. {+} Performance tasks provide a means for students to demonstrate their ability to think and to reason and to use higher-order thinking skills to provide the required evidence for multiple claims and targets. Students will produce a fully developed text or present a speech that will be scored according to an analytic rubric. These kinds of tasks demonstrate the Smarter Balanced intent to collect evidence about students’ readiness for college and career.

3 Performance Tasks Benefits
Multiple approaches Use real world contexts Common language around learning Performance tasks have many benefits. In addition to measuring higher-order thinking skills, {+} performance tasks allow for multiple approaches to collecting evidence of student knowledge, skills and abilities, and the use of real world contexts. Performance tasks effectively marry instruction and assessment, providing a common language around learning.

4 Limitations of Performance Tasks
Administration time Human scoring While performance tasks provide several benefits, there are two important limitations to keep in mind. {+} Because performance tasks are more complex and have more components than other types of items, they require more time for students to complete. Some aspects of performance tasks also rely on human scoring which is more expensive and time-consuming.

5 General Guidelines for Developing Performance Tasks
Integrate knowledge and skills Measure understanding, research skills, analysis, and the ability to provide relevant evidence Require student to plan, write, revise, and edit Reflect a real-world task Demonstrate knowledge and skills Allow for multiple points of view Feasible for classroom environment When developing performance tasks there are several guidelines to consider. {+} First, performance tasks are intended to require students to integrate knowledge and skills across multiple assessment targets and claims. Through this integration, performance tasks should measure deep levels of understanding as well as the abilities to apply research skills, perform complex analyses, and provide evidence to support findings and arguments. When measuring students’ writing skills, performance tasks must provide opportunities to plan, write, revise and edit an extended composition or text that is referred to as a “full write.” To the extent possible, performance tasks should require students to work on real-world tasks that are relevant to students and which allow them to demonstrate important knowledge and skills. Performance tasks should also allow for multiple points of view and interpretation. Finally, performance tasks must be feasible for administration in a typical classroom environment.

6 Combinations of Claims and Targets Measured
Writing-narrative, research, possibly reading Writing-informational/explanatory, research, possibly reading Writing-argumentative, research, possibly reading Writing-opinions, research, possibly reading Speaking, research, reading, listening English Language Arts performance tasks are used to address multiple claims. With considerable variation in complexity across grades, performance tasks at any one grade will address one or more of the following combinations of claims: {+} Narrative writing, research and reading Informational or explanatory writing, research and reading Argumentative writing, research, and reading for grades six to eleven Writing opinions, research, and reading for grades three to five And finally speaking, research, reading, and listening.

7 General Specifications for Performance Tasks
Allowable teacher and peer interactions and group work Organization of complex task directions Vocabulary Simulated Internet access Rubrics Some steps in tasks may require teachers to play more than a monitoring role or will require small group work by students. {+} Teachers and peers are not to offer assistance to students as they produce their products or presentations. Allowable teacher and peer interactions for a task must be carefully scripted or described in task directions for purposes of both fairness and security. Wordiness and dense text should be avoided. Use bullets, tables, charts, and graphics to organize information for students. Make directions, requirements, and needed information as clear as possible. Definitions of specialized terminology or vocabulary that the students are not expected to already know should be provided within the text of the task. Students will not be given free access to the Internet for searches because of concerns regarding security, time, and Internet capacity. Simulated searches and screen shots of search results can be incorporated into tasks. Separate, unique rubrics for products, task components, or product attributes will be used. Score points will depend on the scope and importance of what is being scored.

8 Design of Performance Tasks
Stimulate cognition Process information Produce extended response An English Language Arts performance task is designed to {+} stimulate student thinking by presenting information, provide an opportunity for students to process and think deeply about information And to then present an extended response that takes the form of writing or a speech.

9 Design of Performance Tasks
Use 1-2 Stimuli for Grade 3. Use up to 5 stimuli for high school. Emphasis on stimuli related to science, history, and social studies. Components of a Performance Task Stimulus Readings Video clips Audio clips Graphs, charts, other visuals Research topic/issue/ problem etc. Information Processing Research questions Comprehension questions Simulated Internet search etc. Product/Performance Essay, report, story, script Speech with/without graphics, other media Responses to embedded constructed response questions. etc. For each component of a performance, a variety of elements may be included. {+} As an example, stimulus can be presented in a variety of formats including reading passages, video or audio clips, images, and topics that require research or investigation. Information processing may occur by having students research specific questions or by asking them to think about specific aspects of stimuli to which they were exposed. Products and performances can also take many forms including essays, stories, reports, and speeches. A wide variety of performance tasks may be developed by combining various stimuli, information processing tasks, and products. The number of stimuli to be used for a performance task differs across grade levels, from one or two at grade 3 to as many as five at the high school level. While stimulus materials should include a wide range of informational pieces, heavy emphasis should be placed on material involving science, history, or social studies content or themes that are consistent with the Common Core State Standards.

10 Parts of Performance Task
Part 1: Student reads research sources and responds to prompts (Claim 1 or 4) Part 2: Student plans, writes, and revises his or her full essay (Claim 2) or plans and delivers a speech (Claim 3) All ELA performance tasks are composed of two parts. {+} The first part of performance tasks presents stimuli that serve as research sources that the student uses to answer an initial set of questions. These stimuli can be informational text, literary text, and audio or video presentations. The questions developed for part one may provide evidence about Claim 1, but most often will focus on Claim 4. The questions students are presented in the first part of a performance task should relate to the questions asked in the second part of the task. The second part of a performance task requires the student to plan, write, and revise an extended response or to present a speech.

11 Test Administration Maximum Time Requirements for Performance Tasks
Grade 3–8: 105 minutes total Part 1: 35 min. Part 2: 70 min. High School: 120 minutes total Part 1: min. Part 2: min. All Performance Tasks will be administered in a controlled classroom setting with a time limit of approximately 105 minutes for grades 3 through 8 and 120 minutes for high school. Each task will have two parts.

12 Sample Performance Task
Let’s take a moment to explore a sample performance task. {+} This performance task was designed for ninth grade and provides evidence for claim two assessment targets seven and nine, which focus on writing, as well as claim four assessment targets two, three, and four, which focus on research. As is shown, this task contains several sections. First, there are the general directions. Next, part 1 presents students with stimuli and some initial questions to consider related to the stimuli. Part 2 then presents students with another prompt and asks them to produce an extended written response. To inform students about what aspects of their writing will be scored, students are also provided with information about scoring. As is explored in a few minutes, the performance task also contains several scoring rubrics, each of which focus on a specific assessment target and claim.

13 Directions Let’s take a closer look at each section of the performance task. The directions for this task are divided into three sections. {+} The first section provides a general overview of the task. The second section then breaks the task down into three main steps. Finally, specific directions are provided on the first step students are to take. While the directions for each task will vary, it is useful to break directions into smaller sections and to provide sufficient guidance to students about what they are expected to do as they work on the task.

14 Part 1 Part one presents several stimuli for students to explore {+}
and asks them to answer three questions. Each question is related to the topic explored in the stimuli, namely virtual schooling. As will be seen next, the questions are also related to the topic about which students will be asked to write during Part two.

15 Part 2 Part 2 begins with another set of short directions {+}
and then presents students with the main task. In this example, students are asked to produce an essay that explains why they agree or disagree with their parents’ idea regarding virtual schooling.

16 Scoring Information How your essay will be scored: The people scoring your essay will be assigning scores for: Statement of purpose/focus—how well you clearly state your claim on the topic, maintain your focus, and address the alternate and opposing claims Organization—how well your ideas logically flow from the introduction to conclusion using effective transitions, and how well you stay on topic throughout the essay Elaboration of evidence—how well you provide evidence from sources about your opinions and elaborate with specific information Language and Vocabulary—how well you effectively express ideas using precise language that is appropriate for your audience and purpose Conventions—how well you follow the rules of usage, punctuation, capitalization, and spelling To help students focus their writing, the performance task also provides detailed information about the aspects of their writing that will be scored. In this example, five aspects of writing are described including the statement of purpose, organization, elaboration of evidence, language and vocabulary use, and writing conventions. Each of these aspects is associated with one or more assessment target.

17 Grade 6 Sample Performance Task
Now, let’s look at another performance task. This task is designed for grade six. {+} Like the previous task, students are presented with stimuli and some initial questions to think about. For part two, however, students are asked to give a five minute speech that presents information about a person they researched during part 1 and to explain why that person is a wonder. Like the previous example, this task also provides information about how the student responses will be scored.

18 Sample response and scoring notes
Scoring Criteria Scoring rubrics Sample response and scoring notes To guide the scoring of responses, scoring information is developed for each performance task. The scoring information takes two forms. {+} First, rubrics are developed for each element of the student response that is to be scored. Second, sample or exemplar responses are provided.

19 Scoring Criteria As an example, this image shows the several rubrics developed for the ninth grade task examined earlier. {+} Note that a separate rubric was developed for each assessment target measured by the item.

20 Guidelines for Writing Performance Tasks
Align parts of the task Parts build to “full write” or speech Develop rubric for each assessment target Develop exemplars for each rubric Allow multiple approaches The grade 9 and grade 6 performance tasks should serve as exemplars for the materials, information and structure of a performance task. {+} When developing performance tasks, it is important that each component is compatible with and relevant to all other components. Including resources that are interesting, but not directly relevant to the problem students are asked to explore should be avoided. In addition, it is important that the sections of a task build on each other to scaffold the students’ production of a fully developed written response or speech. For example, in the grade 6 speech performance tasks, the outline prepares the student to give the speech. In contrast, asking students to create a drawing of the young wonder they researched, but which is not used to inform their writing would add little value to the task. It is also important to develop a scoring rubric for each assessment target that is measured by a performance task. And for each rubric, it is important to include one or more exemplars for each score point. To provide valid evidence about the range of claims and assessment targets measured by a performance task, it is important to put as much effort into developing the scoring materials as is invested in developing the task itself. Finally, In addition to using authentic research in real-world context, look for ways to allow students to take multiple approaches to preparing the final product that will be scored. Following these guidelines will help ensure the performance tasks developed for the Smarter Balanced Assessment System are of high quality and are effective for eliciting evidence that supports the intended claims about student learning.

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