Sunday, January 29, 2012

Performance Tasks

As the Common Core State Standards continue to roll out in NYC, teachers have begun to assess student progress through a series of performance tasks.

In first grade we created a performance task for a unit on narrative writing centered on our recent trip to the FDNY Fire Zone.  We reasoned that writing about a shared experience would "level the playing field" allowing us to compare/contrast student work fairly.

At the Fire Zone students learned about fire safety, played in a real fire truck, dressed as firemen and practiced what to do in case of a fire.  This educational trip was exciting and a bit frighting at times for the students.  It was also something they all wanted to write about which provided excellent motivation to complete the performance task.

The task, as told to our students,  was to "write about our trip to the FDNY Fire Safety Learning Center and include some details about what happened at the beginning, middle and end of our trip.  I expect you to go through the writing process to revise, edit and publish your work".

We set a flexible timeline allowing for students to work at their own pace. The first four stages of the writing process (pre-write, write, revise & edit) were done independently with only minimal support but we intervened at the publishing stage to ensure that the finished piece was generally free of grammatical errors.

Once a published piece was completed we asked our students to fill out a self-assessment rubric on the writing they just finished.

Although performance tasks are new to me, I did enjoy the process (this is the third performance task in writing this year, others included persuasive writing and opinion writing pieces).

Below is a sample of one student's work including pre-writing, writing, revising, editing and reflection.





At this stage, we evaluate their performance using a rubric based on our expectations.  A score of 3 in any domain indicates the student is meeting expectations while a score of 4 is exceeding expectations.  Scores of 2 and 1 indicate a student is approaching expectations or is far below grade level expectations respectively.

Our rubric is below...

Call out to teachers - How do you utilize performance tasks in your classrooms?


Ms.M said...

My state is one of the very few who have not adopted the CCS. Although your assessment looks a lot like our quarterly writing assessment. Not exactly, but similar.

Your kids did wonderful.

Ms. M
Ms.M's Blog
A Teacher's Plan

Barbara said...

I am really blown away by this, beginning with the "mind map" in the pre-writing stage. Many high school seniors wouldn't have the slightest idea how to write in such an organized, logical fashion. You continue to teach them so much and to make it fun! Kudos!

Gary said...

Ms. M. - It seems that you will have no issues with adjusting to the CCSS when they roll out in your state. It is interesting to note that since I posted this we went back and revised our assessment rubric because some important aspects (such as voice) was not reflected in it. Just goes to show that it is all a process.

Barbara - I visited Lauren, and her beautiful baby, yesterday and showed her the student's writing. She was impressed by their growth in only a few months time. These early elementary years are incredible in terms of development. Next up, we study the solar system. The kids are so excited. I will share some of their NF writing soon.


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