Development of Quality Performance Tasks at Western Governors University
Assessment Update Volume 20, Number 1, ISSN 1041-6099
Western Governors University (WGU) is an online competency-based university in which students demonstrate content competence through a series of assessments. Assessments most often are performance-based or objective assessments that are developed in accordance with specific content objectives. Objective assessments generally assess lower-level cognitive skills such as basic recall of knowledge, while performance-based assessments generally assess higher-level cognitive skills by asking students to apply their learning in an approximation of real-world situations. Performance-based assessments at WGU are evaluated by WGU evaluators, who are highly trained subject matter experts. Evaluations are done online, and evaluators have no direct interaction with the students whose assessments they are evaluating. To accommodate this online evaluation method, WGU has developed a unique approach to the construction of performance assessments. The key to their approach is the use of consistent terms and formatting that leads to a higher level of inter-rater reliability, helps students understand instructions, and accelerates and improves the development process. This article presents an overview of the process of assessment development and the structure of performance tasks at WGU. (Contains 1 table.)
Nicastro, G. & Moreton, K.M. (2008). Development of Quality Performance Tasks at Western Governors University. Assessment Update, 20(1), 8-9.