The Envision Schools Charter Management Organization, which runs four small high schools in the San Francisco Bay Area, provided the first field test site for the SCALE student performance assessment system. The Envision Schools began an ongoing collaboration with SCALE in 2003 to pioneer the design and development of the measurement instruments and protocols that would become the basis for its College Success Portfolio System, which includes performance outcomes, scoring rubrics, and tasks in six core content areas: ELA, mathematics, science inquiry and science literacy, history-social science, foreign language, and the arts. The College Success Portfolio, which is a digital arrangement of students’ work, is a graduating requirement for all Envision Schools students. As of the summer of 2010, four graduating classes have completed the College Success Portfolio. While the design and development work is at an end, SCALE continues to consult with Envision Schools by providing technical services and training for its school staff to calibrate around a common scoring standard and to assess scoring reliability.
The mission of the Envision Schools is to “bring high quality college preparatory education to communities with the greatest need, with the goal of sending all the organization's students to college. Envision Schools targets underserved urban youth, particularly those who are first in their families to attend college, in communities of color and neighborhoods served by underperforming public schools.” Envision Schools contracted with SCALE in 2008 to conduct a two-year graduate follow-up study to examine outcomes for its first three graduating classes (2007-2009). Outcomes examined include college enrollment rates, college persistence, and college grades. Factors associated with students’ persistence and success in college, particularly for first-generation and minority students, are investigated in this study. The study ended in 2010.
As part of its effort to redesign itself from a large comprehensive high school into three semi-autonomous Smaller Learning Communities (which began in 2003), Hillsdale High School sought the consultation of SCALE to adapt the Envision Schools College Success Portfolio system for its own academic program in 2008-09. Although the school already had an established Senior Exhibition (research project) that is required of all graduating seniors, it has begun to move toward a graduation portfolio system (“Digital Portfolio”) to support students’ engagement in powerful learning across the content areas. Through its collaboration with SCALE, Hillsdale created its own set of performance outcomes, scoring rubrics, and tasks across the core content areas.
In 2008, the Ohio Department of Education, through grants received from the Gates Foundation and the Hewlett Foundation, began a collaboration with SCALE to design, develop, and pilot a performance-based assessment system that could serve as one indicator (among multiple measures) of students’ readiness to graduate from high school, as well as their readiness for college and careers. This system includes performance outcomes, scoring rubrics, and performance tasks in three secondary content areas: ELA, mathematics, and science. The tasks were designed to be “curriculum-embedded” and to be completed by 11-12th grade students over a 1-4 week period in their classes. In 2009-2010, OPAPP conducted its first pilot of these performance assessments across 15 pilot sites in the states, including approximately 150 teachers. The project will complete a second pilot year in 2010-11 with the same group of pilot sites with streamlined versions of the performance tasks.