Performance assessment also referred to as alternative and/or authentic assessment. This is a form of testing that requires the student to perform a task rather than just select answers from a written text. For example, a student may be requested to develop a scientific hypothesis, discuss historical events or carry out a research on a given topic. The rewarding of the assessment is done by a qualified bench of tutors who oversee the quality of the student work and reward according to the set marking rules.
There are a number of reasons that make performance assessment preferred to written forms of examining students. The usual standardized test just assesses the academic aspect of a student. It tends to learn on testing one aspect of the wholesomeness of a student. Performance assessment, on the other hand, is more inclusive. On top of testing on the usual academic ability of a student, it goes further to test the thinking skills and the innovative abilities of a student. Evaluation and interpretation skills are also included in performance assessment. In this form of assessment, the academic development of a student is assessed in a quality way. Based on gradual observation on the quality of skills demonstrated teachers are able to tell the quantity and quality of progress that a student is making. This paper attempts to explain the process and the final product of a good performance assessment.
A comprehensive performance assessment should have the following aspects. It should have a developmental checklist that puts into consideration the physical, mental and social development of a student. This allows the progress of a student to be recorded in a wall that every step they make can be easily spotted. Portfolios are a key requirement in such an assessment. They assess the students' effort in making progress, and the discussion held between the student and the teacher helps the student develop a new focus on academic progress. The portfolios and checklists should be analyzed in a progress summary. This shows how the student is progressing.
The process of performance assessment is a rather inclusive one. The process begins with getting the information. This involves data collection, by the processes of reading, observing, listening, counting, identifying, listing and matching. The initial step in the process aims at giving the person doing the assessment an orientation to the subject. The assessment also includes using the information to make sensible conclusions from the data collected. Comparing information, interpreting classifying and sorting out the data given in the information is a crucial step in making a standard conclusion using the information.
The process of performance assessment also includes using the information recorded to deliver a given message. The person assessing the student could use the information to assess how effectively a student is able to persuade, teach and motivate other people. If a good conclusion is made, it means that a student has attained a good academic level. He or she is then well assessed (Frechtling, 1991).
At the end of the assessment, the system makes sure that the student who passes is a wholesome student who is in a position to have academic self-drive. One who can research on a certain topic and use the information critically to teach other students and in this way the purpose of education is greatly met. Performance assessment is hence a better way to assess students compared to the standard method that mostly focuses on the academic performance than the skills obtained in the studies.