Performance assessments go beyond standardized testing and engage various evaluation means including informal observation of student classroom performance, project based assignments, research, experiment design, thesis and written reports, blog entries and portfolio reviews.
Performance assessments are a class of assessments based on observation and judgment
In the face to face classroom they can be used either formally in informally when the teacher observes the students at work or formally as in the case of written essays
Performance assessments are used online to coordinate group projects, submit, blog entries and upload reports. .
Some performance assessments are used in a classroom and not in an online environment when the project involves visual assessments and face to face discussion. .
It is better to assess blog entries and distance group projects online.
Two alternative assessment strategies, excluding rubrics, used in evaluating student outcomes involve ongoing student efforts and the student’s ability to maintain a consistent learning pattern through the constant flow of assignments needed to complete a course of study. One of these assessment strategies is through the formal assignment of reports, essays and projects. Another is through a less formal review of work assignments, classroom participation in a face to face situation and blog participation and e-mail feedback in a digital environment..
The advantages of using a consistent work flow form of performance is that it prevents having students fall behind in all their studies because they have difficulty with one particular topic and encourages a multimodal approach to learning. Some of the disadvantages of using these types of assessment is that it is easier to misinterpret student learning levels if the topic is mastered but not the learning style, strategy, or approach. Another difficulty in employing this method of performance assessment is that it is time consuming for the instructor and may lead to inconsistent evaluation results for the students..
Alternative assessments can be more or less valid tools when addressing differences such as learning styles, cultural expectations, ethnicity, gender, or age. This is because they employ the instructor’s observations and judgment. If there are communication barriers they could lead to false assessment results. Grading procedures can take into account learning and cultural differences by evaluating the totality of student efforts and not just performance in one particular aspect of course topic mastery. .
Given the current trends in education, one of the implications for evaluating students in an online environment are that students learn from and prepare multimodal presentations thus expanding their range of learning and communication strategies. Another implication is that students are evaluated in a manner consistent with how their work will be perceived when they enter the workforce and begin producing in the combination of digital, classic and face to face real time situations that exist in business today. .
A facilitator can overcome the issues surrounding evaluation in an online environment by separating the issues extant in topic understanding and communication styles and address these issues separately. .
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