Spicing Up Your Assessments: Moving beyond exams

Thursday 1:30pm-4:00pm TSU - Humphries: 103
Afternoon Mini Workshop


Larry Collins, Delta State University
Katherine Ryker, University of South Carolina-Columbia
Are you completely satisfied with your formative and summative assessments? If so, this workshop is not for you. This workshop will focus on how to develop and implement performance-based assessments in your classes, drawing on empirical support for each strategy (e.g. sort tasks). Performance-based assessments are useful to both K-12 educators looking to assess NGSS crosscutting concepts and college instructors seeking to build conceptual understanding in lower and upper division courses! Participants will have opportunities to share their assessment strategies and goals, and will leave with a plan to implement performance-based assessment in one of their courses.


By the end of this workshop, participants will:

  • Define what is meant by performance-based assessments
  • Experience two different examples of performance-based assessments
  • Describe the affordances and limitations of performance-based assessments.
  • Consider how to align performance-based assessments with NGSS Crosscutting concepts or other course learning objectives.
  • Generate a plan for enacting performance-based assessments in your classroom.


1:30-1:40 Welcome, Introduction, and Scope of Workshop

  • What is one assessment strategy you currently use and a goal you have with that assessment or assessments overall?

1:40-1:55 What constitutes performance-based assessment? What are the different types of performance-based assessment? What are the key aspects of sort tasks, and how do they support student learning?

Performance-based Assessments: Who, What and Why?! (Acrobat (PDF) 1.2MB Aug21 19) Presentation slides

This presentation by Larry Collins will serve as an entry-point into a conversation about performance-based assessment and how your students might benefit from its use.

1:55-2:25 Try it yourself! Natural Selection Sort Task

2:25-2:40 Report out observations about the sort task and thoughts on how this might support student learning

2:40-3:10 Try it yourself! Interconcept Assessments--Conducting a Geologic Hazards Assessment

3:10-3:20 Report out observations of the Geologic Hazards Assessment

3:20-3:30 Compare and contrast the two types of performance-based assessments.

3:30-3:45 Summarizing what we've learned: What characteristics does an assessment have to have in order to be considered performance-based?

3:45-4:00 End of Workshop

4:00 Adjourn