About the Guide
The PALS Guide will walk you through the three main areas
of performance assessments (targets or standards, tasks and task
design, and finally, rubrics and scoring). You will have the opportunity
to learn about these elements
as well as methods for adapting
specific tasks for your needs. The guide also includes a glossary
and a set of descriptions outlining features
of good performance assessment.
Note, however, that the structure of the guide moves through the
concepts of task design rather than the specific categories found
in a task. The chart above illustrates how the guide moves through
the three categories of a task's content (Administration Procedures,
Task with Student Directions, and Rubrics). Click on the titles
below to find out more about each concept.
Science content standards are broad statements that envision
the concepts and processes students are expected to attain in the
sciences. Standards explicate the knowledge base of a scientifcally
literate populace. Targets are task-specific, curricular
objectives and goal statements based on standards. Targets ground
all of the decisions concerning the type of assessment, the task
design, and the rubric used to score the task.
Tasks allow students to effectively create a sample product
or performance we can observe and judge. They contain information
about the administration procedures (e.g.task time, materials, safety
concerns), written instructions to help students demonstrate mastery
of the skills that will be assessed, and questions to assess student
Rubrics are the guides used to score performance assessments
in a reliable, fair, and valid manner. Rubrics are composed of a
description of the dimensions for judging student performance, a
scale of values for rating performances on each dimension, and standards
of excellence for specified performance levels.