What Do I Do? (No Guesses and no Excuses!)
The format of the performance-based learning task and its accompanying assessment list provides students with built-in organization and precise expectations. The “no guesses, no excuses” layout enables students of all abilities to take charge of the task as active learners, moving at their own pace through the Cycle of Learning (see Exhibit 9 in Chapter 1) with a clearly written guideline. The task format provides a statement of the task, a description of the audience, and the purpose of the students' work. To perform the task, students access and acquire information that they process and use to perform or produce a product. They disseminate the product and then assess, evaluate, and regulate their work (set goals for improvement) at their own level to reenter the Cycle of Learning. To the learners, the performance-based learning task becomes a problem to solve, complete with a sequenced plan of action on how to solve it. As the cycle continues, the students' confidence increases as they realize academic achievement. Performance improves; and as a result, students feel capable, needed, and influential.
It's All Up-Front (No Surprises and No Excuses!)
Communication is a fundamental part of the Cycle of Learning and a component of all performance-based learning tasks. Because the product of each task includes a visual, written, or spoken element (illustrations, graph, chart, letter, dramatic performance, etc.) and an explanation of conclusions (oral, graphic, or written), the students engage in a multilevel presentation of ideas. After drafts, conferences, and revisions, students experience the creative process at the highest level. As part of the task, students internalize the “benchmarks” of excellence as ideals on which to model their performances. Further, tasks clearly define the audience with whom the students must communicate. The assessment lists provide clear boundaries by which students measure the success of their communication. The assessment list lays out all the criteria up-front. There are no surprises and no excuses. The performance-based learning task is a precise, accurate way to practice communication, an essential skill in today's world.
Impact on Special Needs Students