Sample Performance Tasks



Level 1: Grades K-2

Sample Performance Task

Your teacher has announced that you will be having a new desk buddy - a student from Florida. You hear she is sad about moving to Maine because it is winter and she feels there will be nothing to do outside. Using The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats and your experiences with winter, come up with some ways you can help your new friend understand about possible winter fun. Be sure to provide reasons why winter is fun besides those provided in the book.

While rereading the book, you remember how Peter has a dream. Why do you think he dreamt as he did? Have you had similar dreams? Tell what happened and why.

You will be assessed on your ability to understand the story, your ability to reread for details, your ability to come up with ideas for winter fun, your ability to make conclusions and your ability to communicate effectivley in a variety of ways.

This sample performance task addresses the following:

Complex Thinking Standards
  • Constructing Support
  • Induction
Learner Expectation(s)
  • Effective Communicator
  • Knowledgeable Person (see content standard)
  • Versatile Thinker (see complex thinking standard)
K-12 Content Standard(s) I. Uses reading skills and strategies to comprehend, interpret and evaluate what is read.

IV. Demonstrates competence in speaking and listening tools as tools for learning

Key Learnings 4. Uses clues within the text to develop fluency and comprehension (e.g. sentence structure, word meaning, rereading).

3. Recounts personal experiences or personal knowledge about a topic.

SOURCE: Paul MacDowell, Portland Public Schools



Level 3: Grades 6-8

Sample Performance Task

Your friend is going through a difficult time. You have tried talking about the issue but to no avail. After much thought you recall a book you had read where the character went through a similar experience as your friend. How might the book help your friend deal with the problem? What other sources of information or resources could you find to help your friend? What might be some strategies your friend could use? Use your writing skills to compose a letter to your friend as to why he should read the book or resources you have collected. Be sure your letter contains examples from the readings, your feelings and encouragement.

As a problem solver, devise a plan to meet with your friend to identify possible solutions to the problem after he has read the materials. Be sure you are considerate of feelings and outline steps you’ll take to make sure your discussion is one of collaboration.

You will be assessed on your ability to make informed decisons, your ability to create a letter with complex sentences, your ability to problem solve and your ability to work collaboratively with a peer.

This sample performance task addresses the following:

Complex Thinking Standards
  • Decision Making
  • Problem Solving
Learner Expectation(s)
  • Collaborative Worker
  • Knowledgeable Person (see content standard)
  • Versatile Thinker (see complex thinking standard)
K-12 Content Standard(s) I. Uses reading skills and strategies to comprehend, interpret and evaluate what is read.

IV. Demonstrates competence in speaking and listening tools as tools for learning.

Key Learnings 3. Recognizes the relationship of literature to events in real life.

1. Constructs complex sentences

SOURCE: Educational Planning, Portland Public Schools



Level 3: Grades 6-8

Sample Performance Task

Your community has allocated a sum of money to be used to purchase books for the library. Not all in the community are in agreement on how the funds will be spent. Speculate on what the various interest groups might be in the community and what their respective points of view may be. Using your knowledge of literature, write letters to various interest groups, the school board and a letter to the editor advocating for a list of books you have developed and why they should be purchased. Be sure to compose your letters to the audience in such a way to elicit their support.

You will be assessed on your ability to create a listing of books to be considered for purchase, your ability to develop letters for various audiences and purposes, your ability to analyze the perspectives of others, your ability to construct support for your point of view using the literature books as references and your ability to communicate effectively in a variety of ways.

This sample performance task addresses the following:

Complex Thinking Standards
  • Constructing Support
  • Analyzing Perspectives
Learner Expectation(s)
  • Effective Communicator
  • Knowledgeable Person (see content standard)
  • Versatile Thinker (see complex thinking standard)
K-12 Content Standard(s) II. Explores, experiences, selects and understands literature from a variety of sources.

III. Uses the skills and strategies of the writing process for reflective, creative, and informational purposes.

Key Learnings 6. Interprets and critiques various forms of literature.

2. Writes for various audiences and purposes

SOURCE: Educational Planning, Portland Public Schools



Level 4: Grades 9-12

Sample Performance Task

George Orwell’s 1984 can be described as a work of projective investigation. Working in small groups, your task is to select specific events, ideas, or trends from the 1940's and show how Orwell projected them into the future. Secondly, each person in your group is to select a field of study of interest such as fashion, technology, health, sports, the economy, the arts, politics, etc. and analyze how current events, trends, and ideas are causing disagreements, agreements or confusion in the field. You may want to use books, magazines, research articles, etc. as resources. Be sure you are aware of the beliefs and biases being presented. Use information and points of view you have collected to develop a scenario for the future that makes sense and is plausible based on the extension of continued trends, ideas or events.

You will be assessed on your ability to identify and understand basic beliefs in a text, your ability to identify and extend predictions, and your ability to communicate effectively in a variety of ways.

This sample performance task addresses the following:

Complex Thinking Standards
  • Investigation
Learner Expectation(s)
  • Effective Communicator
  • Knowledgeable Person (see content standard)
  • Versatile Thinker (see complex thinking standard)
K-12 Content Standard(s) I. Uses reading skills and strategies to comprehend, interpret and evaluate what is read.

II. Explores, experiences, selects and understands literature from a variety of collections.

Key Learnings 4. Understands that a single text will elicit a wide variety of responses based on the point of view of the reader.

1. Understands the philosophical assumptions and basic beliefs underlying a literary work.

SOURCE: Assessing Student Outcomes. McRel, 1993