SCALE works with school organizations and stakeholders to identify the core subject-specific performance outcomes that students are expected to demonstrate in performance tasks. These performance outcomes – vital competencies and skills needed for college success and the workplace – are based on state, national, and international standards and provide the blueprint for designing performance tasks.
Unlike content or skill standards, performance outcomes do NOT represent the totality of all academic behaviors and skills that are valued and desired, but represent a subset of valued learning outcomes that will be measured in the performance task. Performance outcomes are written so that they can be applied across courses and topics/units of study within the discipline. Outcomes may include enduring understandings, essential skills, or habits of mind, explained below.
- Performance outcomes: The academic knowledge, behaviors, and skills that students are expected to learn and demonstrate in a performance task.
- Enduring Understandings – Big ideas that have lasting value beyond the classroom, are central to the discipline, and are transferable to new situations (Wiggins & McTighe, 1998). Examples include:
- English language arts: Writing and speaking are shaped by audience and purpose; texts are embedded within their cultural and historical contexts.
- Mathematics: Mathematical relationships abound in the world around us and can be applied to everyday decisions such as figuring out whether buying in bulk is a better deal, calculating how much our 401k has dropped, designing our living spaces, or even critiquing art.
- Science: Engaging in a systematic method of inquiry leads to more accurate explanations of natural phenomena.
- Essential Skills – The skills that are necessary to do work in the discipline. Examples include:
- English language arts: Develop a thesis statement, supported by arguments and/or evidence; demonstrate a command of the conventions of the English language.
- Mathematics: Reason deductively; use mathematical symbols and language to explain mathematical relationships or ideas.
- Science: When engaging in inquiry, describe objects and events, ask questions, construct explanations, test those explanations against current scientific knowledge, and clearly communicate ideas to others.
- Habits of Mind – Ways of knowing and thinking in the discipline; approaches to thinking or problem-solving. Examples include:
- English language arts: In building an argument, consider counterclaims and opposing positions; consider multiple interpretations of a character, motive, or theme.
- Mathematics: See mathematical ideas in one’s mind’s eye; generalize from specific cases to test whether a relationship holds true in all cases.
- Science: In conducting inquiry, identify assumptions, use critical and logical thinking, and consider alternative explanations.