Performance Based Assessment

Developing PBA

At the base, of course, is the student, the teacher and the curriculum project. But what is different or unique about PBA is that from the beginning of the freshman year, there is conscious planning and awareness on the part of the student teacher, advisor, and indeed the whole school community. All concerned know that in order to advance, and to eventually graduate, the student will be presenting her/his work in science, math and humanities. In the lower grades, students will be participating in roundtables. In the higher grades, they will present their most formal PBAs to a panel or committee made up of two teachers, one or more peers, a family member and a guest from the broader community.

The students and teachers know that after an oral presentation this panel will question and discuss the work with the student, provide feedback and contribute to the assessment. This is a relatively formal oral presentation and defense not simply an exhibit of work.  Exhibits, and especially roundtable presentations with other students, help prepare the students and teachers. As is quite obvious, the PBA is radically different from a typical standardized test.

Performance Based Assessments are an alternative to high-stakes standardized tests.  Research, evaluation rubrics and other information can be found on the Performance Standards Consortium website:

Common PBA Formats

    • Individual Oral Defense (Fulfills graduation requirements)
    • Pair Presentations (Used in 9th-11th grade)
    • Group Roundtables (Used in 9th-11th grade)

Evaluating PBAs

1. Committee Composition
2. Assessing through Rubrics
3. Parents & External Partners

Making PBAs work requires the buy-in and support of the entire community.  External evaluators are invited to sit on committees to evaluate oral defense presentations. Not only do teachers need to buy in, but schools also need their program chair (or scheduler), APs, and Principal to help facilitate the process.