Assessment Models

We decided to focus our work on developing models of the most common form of assessment we found in the field: surveys. And to add to this, here are three forms of assessments not commonly found in our field: observations, performance tasks, and portfolios. Our models, which are representative of those assessments used elsewhere, are designed to be good plans or templates for any theatre to use. They include an emphasis on assessing what is valued and valuing what is assessed.

These assessment models use a common language around assessment. For example, they are designed to be valid and reliable. They are expected to be used with rubrics. They assume that theatre education directors will seek an understanding of the assessment process by setting up an assessment community in their theatres. They ask theatre education directors to determine what knowledge is worth learning, and they seek alignment of what is worth learning from the classroom to the board room. They are models that transport good ideas about assessment, and they are intended to be adapted.

Choosing Assessment Models

So how do you choose which assessment models to use? Whichever model you choose, try to embed the model in the curriculum of your education class. Don't stop to do the assessment; work it into your class. For example, instead of stopping to survey all the kids, have them interview each other using a survey. For example, have them re-write the ending of King Lear, a performance task, and then present their rationale for their ending to the class.

You may also want to write out the goals for your curriculum unit with an emphasis on the verbs in your goals. Find a model that helps you learn about what your verbs are asking students to focus on.

A Non-Exhaustive List of Examples For Using Verbs and Assessment Prompts to Choose Assessment Models

Types of Knowledge/Action Assessment Prompt Assessment Model  


Which one…? Observation
Count How many…? Survey
Define How would you define…? Performance Task
Describe How would you recognize..? Observation
Find Where is…? Survey
Identify Who was…? Survey
Know What is…? Performance task
Label Name the picture… Performance Task
List Develop a list… Portfolio
Locate Do some background on... Portfolio
Match Who belongs with whom? Observation
Memorize Prepare for a panel talk... Performance Task
Quote Find out who said… Survey
Read Prepare for a scene Observation
Recall Prepare for oral quiz Performance Task
Recognize Costume Choices Observation
Repeat Scenes from… Performance Task
Retrieve Keep notes on… Portfolio
Say A particular accent Observation
Select From a choice of… Survey
Show Your understanding of… Performance Task
Study Theatre background on… Portfolio

NOTE: You could use assessment models for any type of knowledge assessment, but I have chosen a variety of models to help you think in terms of the richness and variety you can employ when assessing student knowledge.

Almost anything you think is important for students to know and to be able to do can be organized and assessed by a performance assessment prompt, task, and rubric.