Performance Assessment Design

Educator creates original, fair, and authentic performance assessments (PAs).
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Earn Graduate Credit
Graduate-level credit is available for this micro-credential. You can apply for credit through one of our university partners after successfully completing the micro-credential.
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About this Micro-credential

Key Method

The educator creates original, fair, and authentic performance assessments, which allow for student voice and choice and provide multiple ways for diverse learners to demonstrate their mastery of academic discipline-specific content at high levels of cognitive rigor.

Method Components

The Basic Performance Assessment for Learning Design stack is designed so that, if all three credentials are taken together, they will become more than the sum of their parts. Each micro-credential is intended to be able to stand on its own; however, the ideas and activities of each of these credentials support and expand on the others, building a fuller appreciation of performance assessment and its implications.

Your Task:

You will:

  • Create an original performance assessment,
  • Analyze the PA for validity,
  • Embed the PA within your curriculum, and
  • Administer the PA to at least one class of students.

Use the Common Performance Assessment Curriculum Planning Template (QPA Tool 8 – see resources), to guide a design that is tightly aligned to the learning target. In addition, in order to analyze your PA for validity, you will use the Assessment Validation Checklist (Tool 1 – see resources) and the Assessment Validation Protocol (Tool 3). A performance assessment comprises, at a minimum,

  • Completed QPA Tool 8,
  • Student instructions,
  • Competency-based rubric, and
  • Completed Assessment Validation Checklist (QPA Tool 1)

Of course, you can include whatever supplemental materials you think will help students to complete the PA.


“Authentic” performance assessments allow students to demonstrate their achievement of a learning target by applying their new learning in a real-world setting or with a real-world audience. They emphasize student voice and choice by providing opportunities for ownership and decision-making, and by offering a variety of modalities for students to engage in content and demonstrate discipline-specific knowledge and skills. Options for demonstration can include oral presentations, written products, performances, debates, and others. The performance assessment (PA) tasks must be tightly aligned to the learning target (standard or competency).

Performance assessments must support a wide range of learners, including Special Education students, English Language Learners, and learners from diverse socio-economic and cultural backgrounds. As such, assessments should use fair and unbiased language, design that is free of stereotypes, equitable access to resources, accessibility features, and accommodations for students with IEPs and 504 plans (see Resources).

Research & Resources

Supporting Research


Submission Requirements

Submission Guidelines & Evaluation Criteria

To earn the micro-credential, you must receive a passing evaluation for Parts 1 and 3 and a “Got it” for Part 2.

Part 1. Overview questions

(200-word limit for each response)

  • Describe the context in which the performance assessment will be used. Describe the class and your students. Describe the portion of the curriculum into which this PA should fit. What scaffolding will be built into the curriculum and PA to maximize students’ opportunity to demonstrate proficiency through the PA? Why do you think it’s a good fit?

  • In what ways does your PA encourage student engagement? How have you allowed for multiple modalities and student voice and choice? How have you optimized universal design and accessibility?

  • In what ways did you strive to make your PA authentic? (See Grant Wiggins article in the Resources)

  • What did you learn about PA design and strengthening your own PA through the validation protocol? What aspect(s) of the process was valuable to you?

Part 2. Evidence/artifacts

To earn the micro-credential for Performance Assessment Design, the educator must submit the following:

  • A complete performance assessment that provides evidence of alignment to learning target(s), authenticity, multiple modalities of learning and demonstrating achievement, and student voice and choice. The PA should include the following:
    • Completed Common Performance Assessment Curriculum Planning Template (Tool 8), with emphasis on standards, modalities, and accessibility and accommodations.
    • Student instructions and any other supplemental materials.
    • Rubric. You may use an already-existing rubric, as long as it is competency- or standards-based and aligned to the task’s learning targets. You are welcome to design your own rubric: we refer you to the Rubric Design micro-credential in this stack.

  • A completed Task Validation Checklist with comments on strengths, gaps, and recommendations to improve the task.

  • At least three samples of student work from diverse learners, preferably using different assessment modalities (e.g., debate video clip or written argument from Special Education student or English Language Learner).

Part 3. Reflection or Other Type of Additional Assessment

Write a reflective essay (1,000-word limit) OR record a five- to ten-minute video or audio addressing the following topics (be sure to use specificsthat illustrate why you come to the conclusions you do):

  • Describe your experience creating and administering this assessment. What were the new opportunities it presented you? What were some challenges?
  • Discuss your approach to engagement in this performance assessment – how did you address multiple modalities and voice and choice?
  • In your work with performance assessments, what are some implications for your instruction? What instructional strategies have you used to guide student learning and prepare students to successfully demonstrate the learning targets through a PA?
  • Describe your students’ reactions to this performance assessment. How did they react to having voice and choice?

Except where otherwise noted, this work is licensed under:
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)


Download to access the requirements and scoring guide for this micro-credential.
How to prepare for and earn this micro-credential - in a downloadable PDF document

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