Educators understand that the current assessment-based standards are not going away anytime soon. Performance based assessments (PBAs) are an effective way of determining the level of student learning that has occurred in a lesson. While some multiple-choice tests tend to only assess the memorization of factual knowledge, PBAs focus on higher-level cognitive abilities that integrate and demonstrate an understanding of multiple subjects (Baker, 1997). Educational psychologists are proponents of PBAs, citing that students learn better in a situation referred to as "constructive cognition," where students actively construct new knowledge. (Mayer, 1996). This article discusses the use of performance-based assessments in a pilot study conducted in four science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) high schools in North Carolina.
Performance-based assessment in the secondary STEM classroom