Resources & Guidance
PLAN Pilot Webinar Series
NYSED has launched a PLAN Pilot Webinar Series to provide information on performance-based learning and assessment. Webinar recordings are posted in our Video Gallery following the live event. Join our listserv to receive notices of upcoming events.
Webinar 4: PBLA Student Voices
(Performance-Based Learning and Assessment)
DATE: Thursday, April 20, 2023
TIME: 11:00 AM ET
Related Materials & Research
- PLAN Pilot Frequently Used Terms: Performance-Based Learning and Assessment (PBLA) Fact Sheet
- The Learning Policy Institute's report on the promise of performance assessments provides the field with a comprehensive review of how these assessments are being used in the United States and abroad as innovations in high school learning and college admissions, the potential they hold for educational equity, and their value for guiding teaching and learning and better conveying what students know and can do.
Guha, Roneeta, Tony Wagner, Linda Darling-Hammond, Terri Taylor, and Diane Curtis . The promise of performance assessments: Innovations in high school learning and college admission. Palo Alto, CA: Learning Policy Institute. (2018).
In Possible Future, Carol Lee presents a vision for how a multidimensional conception of learning and development that fosters deeper student learning may be integrated into public education by improving educator capacity and building more robust curriculum that allows students to engage in hands-on learning experiences and be assessed through multiple modes of measurement.
Lee, Carol D. "Possible futures: A curriculum that promotes civic ends and meets developmental needs." Kappan 103, no. 3 (2021): 54-57.
Marc Chun provides examples of performance tasks and discusses how the use of these tasks enable college professors to link pedagogical and assessment practices as a viable approach to support students in developing transferable, higher-order thinking skills. While this article is aimed at college professors, it could be useful for high school teachers as well.
Chun, Marc. "Taking teaching to (performance) task: Linking pedagogical and assessment practices." Change: The Magazine of Higher Education. (2010, March/April).
- In 2021, the Center for Assessment investigated issues related to the relationship between the use of complex performance assessments and efforts to promote instructional practices that improve student learning. Enhancing the impact of performance assessments on instruction outlines a strategy for how state agencies and local districts can promote and monitor instructional changes to support the successful adoption of performance-based models.
Evans, Carla, and Sarah Wellberg. "Enhancing the impact of performance assessments on instruction: A research-based framework monitoring the use of performance assessments to promote positive instructional change." The National Center for the Improvement of Educational Assessment, Inc. (2021, August 11).
In this 8-minute video, listen to educators in Virginia explain how they changed the way classrooms look throughout Fairfax County Public Schools by implementing a learning model built around meaningful learning experiences and purposeful assessment. The model provides practitioners with a structure for rethinking teaching, learning, and assessment using a learner-centered approach.
Fairfax Network - Fairfax County Public Schools. "Best practices: FCPS learning model" [Video]. (2016).
- Scott Marion presents a high-level design of a through year system anchored in rich performance assessment tasks that may enhance deeper learning for students and teachers.
Marion, Scott. "All I wanted for Christmas was a through year assessment system that promotes deeper learning: Fulfilling the promise of performance-based assessment." The National Center for the Improvement of Educational Assessment, Inc. (2022, January 11).
- The Learning Policy Institute's Quality Criteria for Systems of Performance Assessment capture a set of research-based expectations for what it takes to support high-quality performance assessment systems within K-12 schools, districts, and networks. School, district, and network leaders can use this tool to examine their existing systems and identify opportunities and next steps for enabling and advancing the use of performance-based learning and assessment in their current context.
Willis, Larkin, Aneesha Badrinarayan, and Monica Martinez. Quality criteria for systems of performance assessment for school, district, and network leaders. Learning Policy Institute, (2022).
- Watch this series of video interviews conducted by the Learning Policy Institute with educators and representatives from successful deeper learning networks, including Big Picture Learning and the Internationals Network, to learn about Strategies and Practices to Advance Deeper Learning. Hear from practitioners about cross-site learning opportunities, job-embedded professional development, community building practices, and other systems and structures in place to support deeper learning in these networks.
Learning Policy Institute. Video feature: Strategies and practices to advance deeper learning [Video]. (2020).
- In Taking Deeper Learning to Scale, the Learning Policy Institute analyzes the efforts of schools and school districts to improve academic achievement. Through case studies of 3 diverse schools, this report highlights the need for a more deliberate focus on creating conditions that promote highly effective teaching and support deeper learning. Read about how Brockton High School in Massachusetts used deeper learning as a strategy to improve student achievement and all of the obstacles the school overcame to implement changes in teaching, learning, and school culture.
Nogurea, Pedro A. Taking deeper learning to scale. Palo Alto, CA: Learning Policy Institute, (2017).
- Explore this interactive playbook of Design Principles for Schools to learn about the guiding principles for putting the science of learning and development into action. This resource provides a framework on how practitioners can implement structures and practices that support student learning and development and illuminates the multiple ways that schools can be designed to support all learners.
Learning Policy Institute and Turnaround for Children. Design principles for schools: Putting the science of learning and development into action. (2021).
- Preparing Teachers for Deeper Learning studies the work of teacher education programs in meeting the challenge of preparing teacher candidates for deeper learning, finding that effective programs teach and support their candidates in the same ways they want the candidates to teach and support children. This research brief on the Learning Policy Institute's publication describes strategies and guidelines for preparing teacher candidates to enact deeper learning. While the study is directed at teacher preparation programs, it could be useful to middle and high school teachers as well.
Darling-Hammond, Linda, Jeannie Oakes, Steve Wojcikiewicz, Maria E. Hyler, Roneeta Guha, Anne Podolsky, Tara Kini, Channa Cook-Harvey, Charmaine Mercer, and Akeelah Harrell Preparing teachers for deeper learning (research brief). Palo Alto, CA: Learning Policy Institute, (2019).
Teaching and Learning
- See how a high school in Nashville, Tennessee, allows students to expand their learning experiences beyond the classroom through internships. In this 6-minute video, students and educators explain how these hands-on learning opportunities utilize a supportive mentorship structure to enable students to explore their professional passions and build real-world skills while bolstering their academic work.
BPLearning. "Learning through interests" [Video]. (2022).
- Watch an 11th grade pre-calculus class in Oklahoma engaging in an authentic financial planning project to learn about compound interest, in this 8-minute video narrated by their teacher. See how the students' culminating presentations demonstrate their learning, as they apply mathematical knowledge and skills to actual financial situations of members of their community.
PBLWorks. "Finance project" [Video]. (2019).
- Hear how a science teacher in Brooklyn generated student interest in learning about corrosive inhibitors by sparking their curiosity through real-life issues and current events. Watch as these 11th grade chemistry students ask questions, design and conduct experiments, and present their findings to practitioners in the field, in this 9-minute video about a project on water quality.
PBLWorks. "Water quality project" [Video]. (2019).
- Watch a New York City high school student's culminating defense of a scientific investigation that was inspired by a sound unit in his physics class, which sparked his curiosity about how people respond to pitch. This 10-minute video shows the student presenting to a panel of teachers and outside experts and responding to their questions. Listen in as the panel discusses the student's work, using a rubric. The video also includes clips of the student conducting the experiment, as well as interviews with him and his teachers to explain the performance-based learning and assessment process.
NY Performance Standards Consortium. "Performance assessment: Student work examples - science" [Video]. (2020).
- In Oakland, California, a yearlong Graduate Capstone Project provides an opportunity for students to research, analyze, and become experts in a topic of their own choosing. This 6-minute video shows how this complex project, which is used as a districtwide performance assessment, is building students' ownership of their own learning and helping them develop and use critical thinking and communication skills. Educators describe how the project enables graduating seniors to engage in a real-world problem as they prepare to transition out of high school. Starting around the 1:20-minute mark, hear teachers explain how they use rubrics to authentically assess their students' work.
Learning Policy Institute. "The power of performance assessments: Oakland Unified's graduate capstone project" [Video]. (2017).
- Listen to an 11th grade student in Australia present her final exhibition on an independent research project and hands-on learning experience in marine science. Watch this student demonstrate the knowledge and the depth of understanding she gained through her experience, as she walks her unseen audience through what causes deforestation in the seaweed forests around Australia - and what we can do about it - in this 13-minute video.
Big Picture Learning. "Anais moderation sample" [Video]. (n.d.).
Many high-quality career and technical education programs fit into the category of performance-based learning and assessment because they incorporate real-world problems and tasks, giving students opportunities to develop and apply knowledge and skills in settings that resemble authentic, real-life situations.
- Read about how BOCES CTE Programs are preparing students across New York State for the workforce by developing programming that combines active, hands-on learning with the opportunity for students to translate what happens in the classroom into the real-world. This short paper highlights how dynamic BOCES CTE programs are helping students gain the college and career skills they need for successful futures.
Want to see BOCES CTE programs in action, or hear from their students? Take a virtual tour of the CTE Center in Rockland BOCES in this 13-minute video, or hear students reflect on their hands-on learning experiences in this 7-minute video from Washington-Saratoga-Warren-Hamilton-Essex (WSWHE) BOCES.
Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) of New York State. "Career & technical education: Preparing today's students to power tomorrow's economy." (2020).
- Hear how the Brooklyn STEAM Center is partnering with 8 high schools in Brooklyn to provide 11th and 12th grade students with CTE training that culminates in student portfolios of work products that illustrate their career readiness. Learn about how the Brooklyn STEAM Center is creating opportunities for young people to advance both academically and career-wise in this 11-minute video that gives an overview of this CTE model.
Brooklyn STEAM Center. "Overview of the Brooklyn STEAM Center" [Video]. (2022).
- In this 5-minute video, learn about how high school students in Vermont engage in community-based learning that focuses on student interest to create internship opportunities that are designed to connect academic learning to the real world. Hear from students and educators about how the program helps students explore their interests and postsecondary possibilities, then reflect on their experience with a culminating project developed with support from their community partners.
Edutopia. “Community-based learning: Connecting students with their world” [Video]. (2015).
- Watch students in New York City build a tiny house in this 4-minute video about a building science class at The Urban Assembly School for Green Careers. Listen to the teacher explain how he facilitates student learning while you watch a time lapse video of the classroom as the tiny house is constructed, and hear students reflect on the knowledge, understanding, skills, and confidence they gained through this experience.
Sedita, Chris. “UAGC building science documentary short” [Video]. (2022).
- Check out this Sample School Day from a student at The Urban Assembly New York Harbor School to see how this school provides a hands-on education to New York City students by combining traditional academics with maritime-themed CTE. Explore the Harbor School’s website to learn more about how the school uses a continuum of work-based learning experiences to extend student learning from the school classroom into a real-world, work-related context.
The Urban Assembly New York Harbor School. “Our students.” (n.d.).
- Work-based learning (WBL) is an instructional strategy that enhances classroom learning by connecting it to the workplace. Learn about the key components of a comprehensive WBL program through the WBL Toolkit that includes guidance, resources, and further research on the impact of WBL opportunities for high school students.
US Department of Education. “Components of comprehensive work-based learning (WBL) programs.” Work-based Learning (WBL) Toolkit. (2017).
For more information on CTE and WBL, visit NYSED's Career and Technical Education website.
- The Learning Policy Institute examined Big Picture Learning in this study of successful deeper learning networks. Among other key findings, the Learning Policy Institute highlighted Big Picture Learning's vision for deeper learning and equity, collaboration with stakeholders, multifaceted professional learning supports, and evolution of practices and structures to improve the quality of its approach and the spread of deeper learning.
Bradley, Kathryn, and Laura E. Hernandez. Big Picture Learning: Spreading relationships, relevance, and rigor one student at a time. Palo Alto, CA: Learning Policy Institute, (2019).
In this case study of Chicago Public Schools, enrollment in International Baccalaureate programs is found to have a positive correlation with student achievement, high school graduation, and college attendance for disadvantaged urban youth, particularly for male students.
Saavedra, Anna Rosefsky. "The academic impact of enrollment in International Baccalaureate Diploma Programs: A case study of Chicago Public Schools." Teachers College Record 116 (2014).
The Learning Policy Institute examined the Internationals Network for Public Schools in this study of a deeper learning approach to supporting English Learners. Among other findings, the Learning Policy Institute highlighted the Internationals Network's dedication to deepening and sustaining local investment as key to the model's success in supporting rigorous academics, linguistic dignity, and bilingualism using a deeper learning approach.
Roc, Martens, Peter Ross, and Laura E. Hernandez. Internationals Network for Public Schools: A deeper learning approach to supporting English Learners. Palo Alto, CA: Learning Policy Institute, (2019).
- CUNY Professor Michelle Fine discusses how the City University of New York and the New York Performance Standards Consortium are collaborating toward equity, finding that Consortium students "begin high school more educationally and economically disadvantaged than their peers and yet are more likely to graduate from high school, attend college, and persist in college."
Fine, Michelle, and Karyna Pryiomka. Assessing college readiness through authentic student work: How the City University of New York and the New York Performance Standards Consortium are collaborating toward equity. Palo Alto, CA: Learning Policy Institute, (2020).
Ray Domanico of the Manhattan Institute reflects on the transformation of public high schools in New York City between 1994 and 2014, citing the successes of the New York Performance Standards Consortium as particularly notable when comparing the high school graduation rates and college attendance of New York City's public school students. The Washington Post highlighted this report as "Shockingly good news about New York City public high schools."
Domanico, Ray. The transformation of public high schools in New York City. New York, NY: Manhattan Institute for Policy Research Inc., (2022).
- In their 2021 Measuring Forward report, KnowledgeWorks teamed up with several education organizations to examine trends in innovative K-12 assessment practices across the nation. This report summarizes current issues spurring new visions for assessment systems, emerging assessment designs, and how states are working to build capacity for successful - and sustainable - system change.
Aurora Institute, the Center for Assessment, the Center for Innovation in Education, Envision Learning Partners, the Great Schools Partnership, and KnowledgeWorks. "Measuring Forward: Emerging Trends in K-12 Assessment Innovation." KnowledgeWorks. (2021, November 08).
Linda Darling-Hammond of the Learning Policy Institute weighs models for state performance assessment systems in this detailed analysis of integrating performance-based components into assessment systems. This paper compares various forms of assessments by providing examples from around the world of differing uses of performance-based items.
Darling-Hammond, Linda. "Developing and measuring higher order skills: Models for state performance assessment systems." Council of Chief State School Officers. (2017).
How do states integrate performance assessment in their systems of assessment? In 2018, scholars guided by this question found 4 approaches to integrating performance-based assessments were being employed by states across the nation - including using them as part of high school graduation requirements. In this article, the scholars analyze how different states utilized these different approaches.
Stosich, Elizabeth Leisy, Jon Snyder, and Katie Wilczak. "How do states integrate performance assessment in their systems of assessment?" Education Policy Analysis Archives, 26(13). (2018).