It’s been a while since I blogged about performance tasks, and I still get many questions about administering them in the classroom. So, what are performance tasks and why should we do them?
Performance Tasks or Rich Math Tasks are the execution of the State Standards and the 8 Mathematical Practice Standards being taught solidly, which will require students and teachers to go beyond the basics in their thinking. They provide the opportunity for students to grow in their understanding, strategies, and reasoning skills. Teachers are able to use performance tasks to formatively assess how deeply students are understanding the concepts being taught. Performance tasks give you guidance as a teacher to decide where you need to put more emphasis in your instruction and where misconception may lie.
The State Standards in Mathematics require us to no longer teach surface-level concepts using procedures students don’t understand. If students only understand the procedures with which to solve a problem by showing them with pencil and paper, do they truly understand it? We must make a paradigm shift and start teaching math concepts “a mile deep” rather than “a mile long.” Many students can show they “understand” the concept but their application skills for how to solve the problem and how to communicate their reasoning is often much weaker than we think!
You will discover you can rate your students as Novice, Apprentice, Practitioner, or Expert (NAPE) across three arenas of learning math. Here are some FREEBIES, including a collection sheet, and student rubrics.
Copyright ©2005, revised 2014 by Exemplars, Inc. All rights reserved
Exemplars Jigsaw Student Rubric
Source: © 2009, Exemplars
Thermometer Student Rubric
If you would like to try performance tasks or are looking for some new ones, here are some great resources. The tasks are organized by grade level and strands and include exemplars!
….And yes, kindergarten students can do performance tasks too!
The first set of pictures shows kindergarten students in Southgate, Michigan, working on the Mary, Mary Quite Contrary task from the Mathematics Performance Task Bank link above. They were using manipulatives to see how many flowers would be in the 5th row if Mary Quite Contrary planted rows that increased by 5. This task was preceded by reading the poem “Mary, Mary Quite Contrary, How Does Your Garden Grow” with a discussion about gardens.
In this second set of pictures the same group of students are working on the Cookies for Friends task where they had to figure out how many cookies 6 friends would get if they only had 12 cookies to share. This task was preceded by a flannel board activity with the story The Doorbell Rang by Pat Hutchins where Grandma baked a dozen cookies and the doorbell continued to ring with more friends coming to visit and the children having to share their cookies each time in a new way!
Have you tried performance tasks in your classroom?
Tell us about it!
Has it changed the way you teach math?