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Learning Through Performance in Mathematics and Science

The Learning Through Performance in Middle School Mathematics and Science (Learning Through Performance) project focused on improving student learning through the provision of instructional resources that make rigorous academic content accessible and engage students in the application of content knowledge in authentic and meaningful performance assessments. In collaboration with school-based partners, the Learning Through Performance project developed two middle school courses – one in 6th grade mathematics and the other in 6th grade science – that utilized an instructional approach known as “project-based learning” in which students work in teams to tackle complex, real-world issues through rigorous, long-term tasks. The project was funded through a grant from the George Lucas Educational Foundation.

The Learning Through Performance project developed a full curriculum, including assessments associated with coursework and embedded into the curriculum. All tasks were aligned with Common Core State Standards and Next Generation of Science Standards and will be evaluated using a common rubric. Teachers, teacher leaders, and district curriculum specialists were involved as developers and reviewers of all materials associated with the project.

In addition, SCALE conducted a study analyzing the classroom effects of performance-based courses. Specifically, the study examined how participation as co-designers and implementers of the performance-based course influences the quality of teachers' instruction, and how performance-based courses impact student engagement in learning and student performance.

Key Deliverables

  • Professional development opportunities, including scorer training and certification, to participating schools throughout the project
  • Math and science curriculum products and frameworks, including course outlines, embedded assessments, and task shells, will be available to the public at the conclusion of the project
  • Research findings related to the classroom effects of performance-based courses will be published