Performance Task and NMSSJ Instructional Model
A performance task is any learning activity or assessment that asks students to perform to demonstrate their knowledge, understanding, and proficiency. Performance tasks yield a tangible product and/or performance that serve as evidence of learning. Performance assessment, also known as alternative or authentic assessment, is a form of testing that requires students to perform a task rather than select an answer from a ready-made list.
PRINCIPLE: GRADES SHOULD CLEARLY COMMUNICATE WHAT STUDENTS KNOW AND ARE ABLE TO DO
PRACTICE: MASTERY-BASED GRADING
We report on student mastery and progress toward specific attainments – skills, knowledge, and abilities that reflect both academic and social-emotional capabilities. Progress Reports provide students with a rubric score on a 4-point scale for each attainment they have attempted to demonstrate over the course of the marking period. Fundamental to the design of EPIC High Schools is challenging the dominant paradigm around assessment of student learning. Students must have multiple opportunities to demonstrate mastery of critical skills and they must be provided with frequent updates on their progress towards mastery so that they can more fully take ownership over their learning and development.
PRINCIPLE: WE HONOR STUDENT IDENTITY
PRACTICE: RITES OF PASSAGE PROGRAM
Honoring student identity is fundamental to learning, as it builds a foundation of belonging and safety without which learning can’t take place, and it liberates students to take academic risks. A primary vehicle that drives this element of our school model is our Rites of Passage program, which is intended “not simply as a program; it is more accurately a way of life. Providing youth with an opportunity to explore their ideas, identity, and future among peers, with the support and guidance of their immediate elders, is a natural method of promoting positive development into adulthood….It provides these youth with the support, guidance, knowledge, and resources necessary to understand and overcome negative pressures, as well as the skills to combat them.
PRINCIPLE: STUDENT EMPOWERMENT AND INVESTMENT ARE ESSENTIAL TO BUILDING AUTHENTIC COMMUNITY
PRACTICE: RESTORATIVE PRACTICE
In Restorative Practice, the community at large determines school norms and responds to incidents in ways that prioritize learning and healing above discipline and enforcement. Students who violate school norms and the community members who are harmed by their actions are brought together in a process of ownership and repair when student safety is disrupted. We believe that this approach fosters investment in community values and empowers students to actively hold each other accountable for upholding them. In our schools, we employ the use of circles, family conferences, and victim-offender mediation as critical elements of our restorative practice model. Leveraging student ownership and investment in their community is a more effective method of accountability than is a zero-tolerance discipline code.
PRINCIPLE: COMPETENCIES AND LEARNING PATHWAYS SHOULD BE SHARED AND TRANSPARENT TO STUDENTS
PRACTICE: COMPUTING AND LEARNING MANAGEMENT SYSTEM
We provide each student with a Netbook computer throughout the school year. These Netbooks provide students with essential access to the internet for research and learning, teacher-designed and curated deeper learning experiences, communication tools to enhance collaboration, and a learning management system that tracks student progress in relation to our competency framework. Personalized learning requires ready access to learning targets, curriculum resources, and assessment tools that meet the needs of both students and teachers. EPIC’s digital pathway allows staff to better personalize student learning and share resources across schools. The EPIC system integrates our competencies and attainments, students’ individual learning plans, learning resources, andassessments and performance data.