masthead, closeup of compass

Performance Assessment, Sample Rubrics, and Benchmark Item Test Bank

Performance Assessment Resources on the Internet

Everyone is concerned about ways to improve student performance. Douglas Reeves of the International Center for Educational Accountability http://icea.communityisoft.com/ (select 'Research') has been speaking all over the nation about the 90/90/90 study. In this study, the characteristics of schools where 90 percent of the students are eligible for free and reduced lunch and include 90 percent ethnic minority populations but who also have 90 percent of the students achieving at high levels were examined. Five characteristics emerged:

  1. a focus on academic achievement
  2. clear curriculum choices
  3. frequent assessment and opportunities for improvement
  4. an emphasis on writing
  5. external scoring

Many schools are trying to follow this new model by developing school and department wide standards and common rubric scored assessments. Since the whole school is involved in this academically focused and writing assessment driven reform, participation of the History/Social Science classroom is essential. Writing must be integrated into every aspect of the history/social science curriculum.

Creating and grading performance activities in a History/Social Science class is a great way to engage students in learning meaningful content. However, there are challenges in scoring those types of activities. There are often a variety of correct responses to open-ended activities. Many elements of knowledge, reasoning, and communication factor into the quality of the student responses. The scoring rubrics must clearly relate to each of these dimensions, and evaluate the areas within those elements that were part of the instruction. The criteria must be well-defined so that students and scorers agree on targeted outcomes. In order for students to understand the target at which they are aiming and what the expectations are for achievement, these rubrics should be shown to and discussed with students when the assignment is given.

Many SCORE History/Social Science problem-based lessons have included rubrics. Others give instructions as to the types of features that will be assessed in the lesson and how to engage students in the creation of their own rubrics. Teachers often find that this latter process helps students come to a deeper understanding of the performance expectations.

The web has many wonderful assessment resources to help teachers in creating rubrics for all types of activities. Lawrence W. McBride, Frederick D. Drake, and Marcel Lewinski have developed an outstanding website Assessments in the Social Sciences for the Illinois State Board of Education. http://www.isbe.net/assessment/Social_science.htm

In addition, the Chicago Public Schools have developed a rubric bank for all content areas that may be printed off in PDF format from their Instruction Intranet: Chicago Public Schools http://intranet.cps.k12.il.us/Assessments/Ideas_and_Rubrics/ideas_and_rubrics.html The History/Social Science rubrics listed on the site have been selected from a wide range of sources and may be used to score H/SS reading, essay writing, collaborative learning, critical thinking, communication of ideas, knowledge and use of ideas, history day, etc.

Sample Performance Assessment Rubrics

Below are links to sample rubrics that may be used as starting points for the creation of your own classroom or school-wide assessment measures.

Rubrics for Written Work

Presentation Rubrics

Other

Test Bank of Benchmark Items

In order to increase scores on California's State Testing and Reporting (STAR) measures, many schools are monitoring student performance closely. Educators are creating grade level tests to periodically assess the progress that students are making in order to determine the topics and skills to target for review and to align classroom grading to standards-based performance.

However, many are finding that creating multiple choice items is an extremely time-consuming task. It is much easier to select appropriate questions from a set of already developed questions called a test bank. Some of these may need to be adapted for use by another grade level by simplifying vocabulary. Some may need tweaking to make them more specifically relate to the standard being assessed.

In any case, a rich bank of questions from which to draw is helpful. There are many sources for these questions, especially the adopted text supplemental assessment materials. The Internet also offers help. The following websites have been evaluated for the quality of their assessment resources.

Texas End-of-Course Examinations
http://www.tea.state.tx.us/student.assessment/resources/release/index.html
Here are 8th grade end-of-course assessments in history/social science from 2003. The questions cover all of U.S. history and will be useful for reviewing for both the 9th and 8th grade STAR.

Regents Exam Prep Center
http://regentsprep.org/
This site has a rich array of excellent questions in U.S. history, government, and world history. They may be found in the section identified as "Multiple Choice" after selecting either U.S. History or Global History on the homepage. Organized by topic, these questions are easy to access and use. In addition there is a review section covering main topics with brief, highly targeted information that will assist educators in filling gaps in the understanding of selected students and classes.

 

Questions, comments, and suggestions may be addressed to webmaster@rims.k12.ca.us.

Resources on the SCORE H/SS pages were evaluated by history/social science leaders in California. Going beyond these links allows student access to unknown material. Each school site is responsible for evaluating resources for appropriateness in the local school community.

A Project of the San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools.

Copyright © 1996-2008 SCORE H/SS. All Rights Reserved.