Performance Assessments & Local Alternative Assessments
News & Announcements
Emergency Guidelines for the Use of Local Alternative Assessments in Lieu of the Virginia Studies, Civics and Economics, and Grade 8 Writing Standards of Learning Tests for the 2020-2021 School Year
In response to the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic and in accordance with Governor Northam’s Executive Order Fifty-One (EO51) issued on March 12, 2020, and Chapter 1283 of the 2020 Acts of Assembly (part of the Appropriation Act), as signed by Governor Northam on April 27, 2020, the Superintendent of Public Instruction pursued a state-level waiver allowing school divisions the flexibility to choose to administer local alternative assessments in lieu of administering the required Virginia Studies, Civics and Economics, and Grade 8 Writing Standards of Learning (SOL) tests in the 2020-2021 school year.
- Superintendent's Memo 307-20-This is a Word document., November 20, 2020 - Emergency Guidelines for the Use of Local Alternative Assessments in Lieu of the Virginia Studies, Civics and Economics, and Grade 8 Writing Standards of Learning Tests for the 2020-2021 School Year
- Emergency Guidelines for the Use of Local Alternative Assessments in Lieu of the Virginia Studies, Civics and Economics, and Grade 8 Writing Standards of Learning Tests for the 2020-2021 School Year-This is a Word document.
Visit Professional Learning & Development to learn about innovative practices in Virginia public schools and for information about opportunities, resources, and organizations providing professional development for public school educators, administrators, and support services personnel.
Performance assessment measures subject-matter proficiency, requires students to apply the content and skills they have learned, and should present opportunities for students to demonstrate acquisition of the “Five C’s” – critical thinking, creativity, communication, collaboration and citizenship – described in the Board of Education’s Profile of a Virginia Graduate. Performance assessment can be summative or formative in nature. A summative performance assessment evaluates student learning and skill acquisition at the conclusion of a unit, course, etc. A formative performance assessment determines student mastery of content and skills during instruction. As students learn new skills and content, they should be given multiple opportunities to demonstrate mastery through the use of performance tasks. Both summative and formative performance assessments allow teachers and students alike to identify content that has been mastered, misconceptions, and gaps in learning. The evidence gained through performance assessment may be used to guide future classroom instruction.
Information about new resources related to performance assessment will be posted on this web page as it becomes available.
Local Alternative Assessments
The 2014 General Assembly eliminated Standards of Learning assessments in Grade 3 History, Grade 3 Science, Grade 5 Writing, United States History to 1865, and United States History: 1865 to the Present. Additionally, the Assembly’s action required local school divisions to continue to teach the content and to measure student achievement with local alternative assessments, including authentic or performance assessments. School divisions must certify annually that they have provided instruction and administered an alternative assessment, consistent with Board of Education guidelines, to students in grades and subject areas that no longer have a corresponding SOL test.
Current guidance for continued implementation of local alternative assessments, announced in Superintendent’s Memo 025-19-This is a Word document., is included in Guidelines for Local Alternative Assessments for 2018-2019 through 2019-2020-This is a Word document..
Balanced Assessment Plans
Beginning with the 2019-2020 school year, school divisions are required to develop Balanced Assessment Plans for the content areas and courses requiring local alternative assessments. Resources from the "Supporting Instruction and Deeper Learning through Balanced Assessment” events and “Balanced Assessment Plans: Questions from School Divisions” have been made available to assist school division personnel as they develop these plans.
Resources from VDOE
- Balanced Assessment Plans Desk Review-This is a PPT presentation. – presented as a webinar on May 29, 2020. This presentation includes the process for these desk reviews, the findings, examples of best practices, and expectations for Balanced Assessment Plans beginning with the 2020-2021 school year.
- Principles of Scoring Student Work-This is a Word document. – Principles of Scoring Student Work was authored by Stanford Center for Assessment, Learning, & Equity (SCALE). This document provides guidance for using a rubric to score performance tasks and performance assessments.
- Overview of Balanced Assessment Plans (Superintendent's Memo 181-19)-This is a Word document. – provides guidance and considerations to assist school divisions as they develop Balanced Assessment Plans
- Assessment Inventory Tool-This is a Word document. – sample tool for use by schools and school divisions. Use of this Assessment Inventory tool is not required; however, schools and school divisions are encouraged to use an assessment review process to support the development of Balanced Assessment Plans.
- Virginia Quality Criteria Tool for Performance Assessments -This is a Word document. – details a set of criteria for the development of performance assessments that measure the application of content knowledge and skills. (Updated June 2019)
- Summative Assessment vs. Formative Assessment-This is a PPT presentation. – provides information about the differences between summative and formative assessment and the instructional benefits of formative assessment.
- Frequently Asked Questions: Performance Assessment-This is a Word document. – provides information related to the use of performance tasks and performance assessments that are not used to verify credit (updated February 2019)
- Performance Assessment Communication from VDOE-This is a Word document. – includes communication issued by the Virginia Department of Education related to performance assessment and local alternative assessments
- Assessment Literacy Glossary-This is a Word document. – a list of terms and definitions related to Local Alternative Assessments. (updated February 2019)
- The Framework for Local Alternative Assessment Implementation-This is a PDF document. (PDF) – provides common language for school divisions to use in determining their progress in implementing performance assessments and in identifying next steps.
- Play Video: Audio Walk-Through of the Framework for Alternative Assessment Implementation
- Performance Task Development Cycle (PDF) – a flow chart for the development of performance tasks
Common rubrics provide criteria for evaluating student work on performance assessments. For courses in which performance assessments serve as local alternative assessments, it is expected that the common rubric be used. Additional rubrics, if available, will be located on the content page.
- English – Information regarding performance assessments used to verify credits in End-of-Course Writing is located on the English Instruction web page, in the Standards of Learning Documents for English – Adopted 2017 table, under the heading "Resources for Instruction & Assessment."
- Grade 5 Writing-This is a Word document. – rubric based on the 2017 English Standards of Learning for use during the 2019-2020 school year and beyond
- Grade 5 Writing Scoring Rubric-This is a Word document. - holistic scoring rubric based on the 2017 English Standards of Learning for use when scoring local alternative assessments
- Menu of Grade 5 Writing Options-This is a Word document.
- Understand Scoring
- History and Social Science – for use with the 2015 History and Social Science Standards of Learning. As the common rubrics for history and social science are not grade or course specific, school divisions have the opportunity and autonomy to select the common rubric that best suits the needs of their students when scoring local alternative assessments. Visit the Professional Development Resources section of the History & Social Science instruction webpage for additional performance assessment resources.
- Science – based on the 2018 Science Standards of Learning
- Supporting Instruction and Deeper Learning through Balanced Assessment – Preliminary conference materials from sessions offered in May and June of 2019
- Performance Assessment Assurances: Next Steps for Leading Deeper Learning in Virginia – Conference materials from sessions offered in May and June of 2018
- Assessing For Deeper Learning: A Transformative Pathway to Prepare Virginia Students for the Future-This is a Word document. – 2016 Conference Materials