Publications & Resources

Model-Based Performance Assessment

Jan 1998

Eva L. Baker

Performance assessment has been described by its proponents as a major strategy to assist teachers to improve the learning of their students. This piece will describe both the values ascribed to performance assessment and the major criticisms of assessment that have developed in the last few years of exploration. One approach, model-based performance assessment, will be described as a way to remedy and to avoid criticisms of performance assessment. We have developed models for performance assessment in [five] learning areas i.e., problem solving, communication, collaboration, metacognition, and content understanding – and in some areas we have more than one approach. Our strategy makes some trade-offs. It emphasizes comparability among different assessments, reasonable cost, technical quality, fairness, and utility for instruction. It gives up on a wide, anything-goes approach to assessment and focuses on deeper assessment of fewer interpretations of types of learning. [Questions remain] about performance assessments, primarily related to how best to schedule them (as they are time consuming) . . . [and about] how to involve teachers in a reasonable and cost-efficient way in the scoring of the assessments We believe it is important to align content standards, classroom assessment, and external assessment in a practical way, particularly when assessment is used for policy purposes. Our model-based assessment is one way to do it.

Baker, E. L. (1998). Model-based performance assessment (CSE Report 465). Los Angeles: University of California, Los Angeles, National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST).