Background Information about Tasks:

Performance assessment tasks translate standards and targets into exercises that allow students to reveal their proficiency in the areas to be assessed. Good tasks therefore allow students to effectively create a sample product or performance that can be observed and judged. Each assessment task specifies: (1) administration procedures for the instructor including the materials needed for the performance exercise, set-up and safety precautions; and (2) student directions and questions for students to answer during and after the completion of the task.

Well-designed tasks will be linked to original achievement targets, will be clearly defined, will make the goals and expected outcomes of the tasks clear to all members of the school community, and will not have embedded biases. Thus the language and nature of the performance exercises must be sensitive to the gender, linguistic, and cultural background of the students being assessed. As with target development, task development is best accomplished communally. The input of different people who share common assessment targets and goals will provide richer, more diverse ideas of ways to assess a given target or goal. The scope of the targets or goals to be assessed will determine the number of tasks that will need to be developed.

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