What are my students
supposed to learn?

Creating Performance Assessments Step 1

Success Criteria

At the end of the vignette you will be successful if you

  • are able to disaggregate standards to determine which are most important for learners to perform to adequately measure learning.
  • are able to effectively use classroom assessment to improve learning.
  • see how a Table of Specifications can help you create or evaluate a classroom assessment.


Start with a short discussion about what you know/believe about performance assessments:

  • What are my students supposed to learn?
  • How do I know that they are learning it?
  • What is a performance assessment?

Activity 1: Create ToS

Download the Table of Specifications.  Put the ToS up on the projector or share the document with everyone on the team.

Put your unit standards into the ToS; discuss the level of thinking of each of the standards' main verbs as you do.

Activity 2: Discuss ToS Implications

Using the ToS you created,

  • identify which standards can be evaluated (at their designated level of thinking) in a "scantron" test or quiz.
  • identify which standards must be performed to be adequately assessed at their designated level of thinking.
  • looking at the verbs only, determine if there are any skills you need to teach in order to adequately assess learners at the designated level of thinking.  (If many of your verbs are "explain," do you need to actively teach your learners how to explain well?  If many of your verbs are "justify," do you need to actively teach your learners how to justify? etc.)
  • discuss "performance options."  (Check this out: performance does not always equal presentation. Performance assessment defined.)
  • discuss standards that could be assessed within the same assessment.


  • What is the value of disaggregating standards before you design assessments?
    • Did discussing the standards naturally lead to conversations about assessment development?
    • If this is a unit you’ve done before, do the assessments you used in the past assess your learners at an appropriate level?
    • Did you see any standards that you are not assessing?
    • Do all of the standards you are “covering” need to be assessed?

Optional Extension

Using the table of specifications you created, and the “Create Assessments Examples” tab on the Table of Specifications template, determine what assessments you will need to create/utilize to successfully assess student development and mastery of all of the units standards. Make a copy of your team’s ToS, add your list of assessments, and label each verb on the chart with the assignment(s) that will assess it.

Earn one hour of FLEX by filling out this Extension Credit Template and submitting it to Eduphoria.

Next Step

Design a performance assessment in "Creating a Performance Assessment Step 2: How might we best assess learner understanding in our classrooms?" (Vignette Coming Soon)  

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