Performance Tasks in SBG

I was given a good challenge by our secondary curriculum coordinator a couple weeks back. He wanted to know how we get in front of standards-based grading being reduced to collections of isolated skills. In other words, we're doing well tracking our essential standards over time, but those are more or less in isolation (not taking into account any spiralling or scaffolding happening).

File this under stream-of-consciousness rambles. I have three thoughts percolating:

  • Curriculum is skills, knowledge, and dispositions. It seems that performance tasks should focus on skills and dispositions more than content because they're the "connective tissue," as it were, to context outside of the classroom.
  • Some kind of measurement tool is needed, but what is the scope? Is it defined by the district? Or are those skills and dispositions different based on content area? Or even by classroom?
  • Showing application or transfer of information is difficult because you have to make something novel rather than simply report on learning.

In terms of how to do this...well, I haven't quite made it there yet. I have a feeling that this would be a good place for a single point rubric (because those are the new 🔥🔥🔥 right now) because ofo the flexibility they provide.

Another tack would be to write new performance standards which combine the individual standards, but that's another level of organization to add on top of unpacking the current content material. It could work with a larger group together at the district level, but consensus becomes the challenge.

If you're a teacher using SBG, what thoughts do you have? How do you make sure students are forming holistic understanding and not simply accruing a collection of ideas?

Other reading

RedesignU (which I need to investigate more) has a curated list of reading that led me to this helpful policy guide for SBG at a larger level. It includes some guiding questions on performance tasks which were interesting.

CompetencyWorks has a really short article that was thin on material but had a good bulleted list of performance task criteria for the SBG classroom that made me think about what would be included.

Here's another CompetencyWorks article, which is very dated, but raises some good points about interoperability of various SBG tracking systems and the challenges faced when trying to get a wide-angle lens on student growth. Designing performance tasks includes content and helping stuents navigate that process (it's personal, remember?) means we need information to work from. The systems have improved, but it is still difficult to build a full working system on the fly.


Pool Edge by Theen ... is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.