Culturally Relevant Performance Assessments

Koppenhaver, Chelsie

Topic: Curriculum Assessment

Summary: This article from the Learning Policy Institute discusses how performance assessments, like portfolios, panel presentations and personal reflections, can be made culturally relevant, thereby focusing on the student’s own personal experiences and empowering them to truly express themselves as an individual. This involves centering the relationships a student has built and cultivated with peers, staff and others in the course of their learning. Additionally important is the use of a student’s own personal experience as a way to drive civic and community engagement, an especially interesting focus given this course’s emphasis on communication and finding solutions to real-world problems.

Evaluation: It is important for us to realize that there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to assessment that will work for every student or every school. If we want to communicate to students that they are the masters of their own learning then we must realize that they are each unique learners with different backgrounds and needs. The performance assessments discussed here also reach out into the community, engaging them with the students and the school at large, something that is important, not just for students and their families, but for community members who otherwise would not have a relationship or feel any connection to the school.

Citation: Kaul, M. (2019, May 28). Keeping students at the center with culturally relevant performance assessments. Retrieved from

DeVos and Assessment

Mackey, Megan


Nobles III, W.P. (2018). Betsy DeVos approves efforts to change English tests in Louisiana. Retrieved from

A short article on Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’s approval of Louisiana’s new assessments approved through the more flexible Every Student Succeeds Act.

The article describes how Louisiana will experiment with new assessments that use familiar texts with the students rather than randomly selected texts. While this initially seems like a good idea, how will this be standardized?  Will this lead us back to where we were before the Common Core when the quality of a child’s education vastly differed among states? I’m looking forward to following up on the results of this next summer after these new assessments are implemented and scored.

Curriculum-Based Assessment

Cruz, Loren


Jones, C. J., SOUTHERN, W. T., & BRIGHAM, F. J. (1998). Curriculum-based    assessment. Springfield, IL: Charles C Thomas.* Google Scholar.

Click to access 5745e15408aea45ee8560f42.pdf

This article focuses on the features of curriculum-based assessment (CBA) that are universal to all approaches in teaching and testing, and how they contribute the most to effective instructional outcomes.  CBA is seen as a process of evaluation between instruction and student performance outcomes.  This involves identifying parts of the curriculum that are vital indicators of student achievement, measuring the changes in those parts and how they effect performance, displaying the results of those outcomes, and then using the data to make instructional decisions.  Throughout the process, teachers must be observing the nature of the content being presented, and how students respond to it.  From there, teachers can make adjustments to the curriculum to help students reach the intended goal.  CBA is also beneficial to the consultation and collaboration efforts when addressing learning difficulties of individual students.  Conducting CBAs involves selecting meaningful target behaviors, ongoing collection of performance data and evaluation of instruction effectiveness, and modification of instruction.

This article did a great job at describing curriculum-based assessment, while mentioning the importance of collaboration among teachers.  It talked about how the content and the way it is presented impacts the assessment results, and vice versa.  It also did well by mentioning the importance of pre-assessments of what students already know, so that they know what can be worked on.

Enduring understandings–where are they in the library’s curriculum?

Sutherland, Shannon


Donham, J. (2010) Enduring understandings–where are they in the library’s curriculum?(FEATURE ARTICLE). Teacher Librarian, 38(1), 15-19.

Enduring understandings–where are they in the library’s curriculum? As I was pondering collection management in my high school library, I wondered where standards fit into the equation. Librarian teachers not only have to encourage students to read and acquire knowledge they need to justify their collections based on educational standards or educational goals. Measuring student outcomes based on educational goals. Based on Ralph Tyler’s (1949) educational theories, the author identifies three main sources of these learning goals: the student, society and those creating the standards. Common Core standards are based on society’s needs to “maintain America’s competitive edge.”

Harvard’s Project Zero

Galang, Johnny


Harvard Graduate School of Education (2018). Homepage. Retrieved from

Project Zero is a comprehensive website with many resources for curriculum development, assessment, and a wealth of other topics. There are free tools and education around topics such as essential questions, deep learning, and developing a culture of thinking.

It may be overwhelming to someone who is new to educational theory, but can provide useful tools to push your practice further.

Mason, Ariella


Carnegie Mellon University. (n.d.). How to Assess Students’ Learning and Performance. Retrieved February 11, 2018, from assessment/assesslearning/index.html

This resource provides teachers with suggestions for several different methods to assess student learning. It gives ideas on assignment creation, exams, concept maps, rubrics, and group work.

This resource will be helpful in the completion of projects, giving ideas for assessment that are different than traditional tests. I found it helpful, and would recommend it to others taking this course.

Formative Assessment for the Common Core Literacy Standards

Clem, Katy


Calfee, R., Wilson, K. M., Flannery, B., & Kapinus, B. (2014). Formative Assessment for the Common Core Literacy Standards. Teachers College Record, 116(11), 1-32. Retrieved from

“Assessment for learning rather than testing of achievement”…yes! Outlines common core standards clearly; provides insight into formative assessment method for evaluating learning in a meaningful way.

The team of authors succeeded at clearly laying out and explaining what is actually written in the Common Core standards, weeding through varied and expansive opinion on the issue to get to their express purpose and core. The approach to assessment outlined in this article focuses on the process of gathering feedback on student learning with a goal of adjusting ongoing teaching, linking closely to the connected goals and approaches found in inquiry-based learning. I still wonder how this approach can be scaled to evaluate efficacy across a state or nation; can the original goal of national standards, reducing discrepancies in educational opportunity based on socioeconomic or geographical factors and ensuring that all schools provide equal educational opportunity, be achieved without the norm of standardized testing? I am deeply encouraged by what I’m reading regarding the direction in which assessment is headed, but I am still stuck on what that looks like when scaled to a national level or tied to federal funding.


A look at the new SAT

Bradshaw, Trina


Long describes the recent changes to the SAT test, an important assessment tool for students that are planning on going to college. The first observation is that the SAT has adopted some of the popular feature of the ACT test, the SAT competitor for measuring student readiness for college. The first is that test takers are not penalized for wrong answers as they were previously, making it less likely that students will leave answers blank. Additionally, they reduced the number of answer choices from five to four. To accommodate for these changes, the testing time has also been reduced, with an optional essay question making up the change in time. The material being tested has been adjusted so that it focuses on real knowledge that connects to learning in school and the real world, rather than on a student’s mastery of test-taking tricks. There has also been an increase in the use of vocabulary in context rather than in isolation. The writing section has been shifted so that students are asked to analyze a provided text rather than write on a self-selected topic. In addition, the scale has been minimized, with a report being provided on subcategories as well as an overall score. The article ends by giving valuable resources that have been updated to address the changes in the SAT including practice exams, databases of college admission requirements, financial aid support, career exploration tools, and resources for students with special needs.     

Knowledge of the new SAT is essential for educators and librarians since it is the primary tool used to measure college readiness. With the impending announcement of how the state will calculate the Academic Performance Index (API), and the suggestion that SAT scores will be an important qualifier, we want to prepare our students to be able to meet these new demands and succeed. As a classroom teacher, I have yet to receive any training or information on the new SAT. Thus, the resources mentioned at the end will be invaluable for my own edification and for sharing with colleagues.   

A win for all

Bradshaw, Trina


In this article, Miller describes the transformation of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (No Child Left Behind) into the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). These important pieces of legislation guide how schools operate and in some cases can determine funding and staffing. One extremely important addition is the inclusion of libraries, validating the important contribution they make to student learning and enabling funding to support their development. The article also discusses how this could have a positive impact on public and academic libraries as well. Public librarians are often left attempting to aid students when their is no school librarian on staff to help them. They often don’t have the necessary skills and resources needed to truly help. This support of school librarians will help lessen this burden. In addition, academic librarians will benefit from having more students that are well trained in library use in the lower grades. Finally, the author acknowledges the hard work by stakeholder groups in making sure that libraries were adequately represented in this important legislation, including the American Library Association (ALA), the American Library Association Washington (ALAWASH), and library advocates at all levels. This success truly shows what can be attained through the political process when there is the patience required to move something forward over time and maintain commitment.


The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) was a hovering threat that caused many changes in many schools across the nation. After years of backlash, it is satisfying to know that the call for change has finally been answered. Though this article talks about many of the benefits and successes, it does not go into detail about the language of the actual legislation or how it may affect accountability measures. It would be beneficial to include some of those details so that librarians can spread the information to the decision makers in their schools and districts.