Performance Assessment 2.0: Lessons from Large-Scale Policy & Practice
This paper reports on a retrospective research study of performance assessment initiatives that began in the 1990s. The study considered available research literature and documentation produced by state assessment programs, as well as interviews with key individuals who participated in developing and administering those assessments, studied the implementation of those assessments, or had expertise in performance assessment. The study addressed three specific questions:
What were the conditions that helped sustain some of the programs?
What were the challenges that led to their discontinuation?
What are some lessons learned that might help inform current assessment initiatives that seek to integrate performance assessment into large-scale student assessment programs?
The study’s purpose was to inform policymakers and educational leaders about the conditions necessary for successful integration of performance assessments into large-scale assessment programs.
This very lengthy study provides a review of state performance assessment initiatives. By providing an analysis of historical practices and data from multiple states, it discusses three kinds of lessons learned. These focus on: political contexts and the importance of leadership, communication, and public support; lessons about technical quality and the design of performance assessment systems that support credibility and viability, and; lessons about practical issues such as cost and implementation factors that supported or hindered the success of state performance assessment systems. The paper acknowledges the contributions from many national leaders in the assessment field, and it concludes with seven key recommendations for successful performance assessment implementation.