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Performance assessments: Middle school teacher knowledge and practice

Patricia Meehan Roll, Johnson & Wales University


There is strong evidence that standards-based performance assessments are methodologies that increase student learning in the classroom (Shepard, 2000; Lewis, 1999; Black & Wiliam, 1998; Stiggins, 1997). The purpose of this qualitative research study was to identify assessment practices used by teachers in a suburban middle school and to determine their knowledge and use of performance assessments. Data was collected and analyzed from two sources: personal interviews and a written response survey. Teachers interviewed were purposefully selected from the entire teacher population of one suburban school with representation across grade levels and content areas (n = 15). The survey was distributed to all teachers within that same suburban middle school (n = 86). The survey response rate was 71%. The study discovered that teachers use a variety of assessments, including using performance assessments, and have assessment training backgrounds and performance assessment knowledge, but do not employ performance assessments to their full implementation potential. Further, this study uncovered teacher perceptions of factors that both support and impede use of performance assessments. In order to align middle school teacher knowledge and practice, enabling middle school teachers to become more effective practitioners of performance assessments, recommendations, directly impacting teacher practice and student learning, are provided.

Subject Area

Educational evaluation|Curricula|Teaching

Recommended Citation

Roll, Patricia Meehan, "Performance assessments: Middle school teacher knowledge and practice" (2003). Dissertation & Theses Collection. AAI3106414.