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Performance Outcomes

Overview

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.

Definitions

  • Performance outcomes: The academic knowledge, behaviors, and skills that students areexpected to learn and demonstrate in a performance task.

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.

  • 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 tothinking 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.