French, D. (2017). The Future Is Performance Assessment. Voices In Urban Education, (46), 6-13. http://vue.annenberginstitute.org/issues/46/future-performance-assessment
French examines examines future accountability systems in light of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), and highlights the benefits of performance assessments: creative student learning and life skills development, differentiation in teaching, and bringing teacher expertise to the forefront. Standardized testing falls short in measuring how well students develop citizenship skills. Teachers use performance assessment to measure student learning. Students demonstrate knowledge transfer by applying problem-solving skills and building or creating a new work. Students voice that performance assessments enhanced their learning, honed their thinking skills, and helped them develop skills in ways they learn best. Performance assessment schools require teacher expertise to ensure measures match appropriate standards. The benefits include student learning enrichment, and teachers’ craft improvement through teacher collaboration. Although more research is needed, early evidence shows that performance assessment systems improve the way students learn, and the way teachers teach.
As the author mentions, the field may benefit from additional research. The examples French uses tell an interesting story of student experience with performance assessment, but may be isolated, or given by students who may very well excel regardless of the type of learning and assessment. I was glad to see the mention of teacher collaboration as a benefit to placing teachers at the center of an assessment system. Some schools may be content to allow each teacher to work individually, but through my MLIS studies, I have learned that teacher collaboration improves both the student experience, as well as boosts teachers in their teaching.