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Student Engagement: A Framework For On-Demand Performance Assessment Tasks


"Engaging students in meaningful applications of their knowledge is a key aspect of both addressing the standards and providing greater access. Not only do the standards emphasize the importance of meaningful engagement in real-world tasks, but evidence shows that engagement is strongly related to student performance on assessment tasks, especially for students who have been typically less advantaged in school settings.

Innovative assessment designs such as performance tasks offer a ripe opportunity to develop tasks that engage all students of diverse backgrounds and provide opportunities for students to demonstrate their evaluation, synthesis, analysis, and application skills in more open-ended ways than multiple-choice items offer.

This report introduces the ways in which dimensions of engagement may be meaningfully incorporated into assessment tasks so that all students are more fully motivated to complete the tasks and perform them well. The authors began with an overview of research on student engagement. Next, the authors present a set of design challenges, recommendations, and guiding questions for item writers' consideration, followed by design considerations for each of the following elements: Classroom Activities, Design of the Tasks, and Scoring of the Tasks."