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MarylandFine Arts Education Instructional Tool Kit
All Fine Arts Content Areas Dance Music Theatre Visual Arts
Maryland Fine Arts Education
Developing Fine Arts Assessments
Integrating Fine Arts Across the Curriculum
Assessment Outcomes and Implications

Types of Assessments

Performance-based Tasks

This section provides information about different task formats that may be used in developing performance-based tasks. It describes the benefits and drawbacks of each, and provides guidelines to follow when constructing each format.

Performance-based tasks may be administered as either dependent or independent activities.   As dependent activities, performance tasks are accompanied by selected response and/or constructed response items that set the stage and provide context for the creation of a resulting product or performance.   Administered as independent tasks, they should include a pre-assessment activity that includes a preliminary discussion or group activity that establishes context for the desired product or performance.   A pre-assessment activity also serves to activate prior knowledge, engage the learner, and provide a sense of where the assessment task will lead.


  • Often considered more authentic than traditional standardized test items since students are actually engaged in making things and demonstrating skills
  • Easily implemented within typical classroom structure (space and time)


  • Must be carefully monitored to ensure standardization
  • Usually require more response time than traditional standardized test items
  • Often require administration of an accompanying assessment item that allows students to explain one or more aspects of their product or performance (e.g., intended meaning, rationale, etc.)


  • Establish context through brief introduction (orally or in writing)
  • Cue clearly and fully for range of skills and understandings to be demonstrated
  • Word item so that the expectations are clear
  • Allow sufficient response time and space to permit students to address the demands of the activity; resources must be readily available and meet safety standards
  • Allow for draft stage work or practice when appropriate before students create final product or performance
  • Identify and share with students performance targets (elements or characteristics of successful response) ahead of time unless doing so will confound evidence of skills and understandings on which students are being assessed


Performance-based Task Formats

Performance-based task formats include the creation of a:

Product (e.g., drawing, painting, audiotape, videotape)

Performance (e.g., oral presentation, dance, recital, dramatic enactment)

Extended constructed response (e.g., script, essay, score)

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