The Division’s First Round of Integrated Performance Assessments

These images certainly don’t reflect what we typically think of when we think of students taking a test:

GMS students hard at work on their Integrated Performance Assessment (IPA) in science class

RES fourth graders begin the initial steps of their recent IPA in science and math

As part of the division’s Balanced Assessment Project, students are being introduced to formal “Integrated Performance Assessments” (IPAs). GCPS considers IPAs to be an activity requiring students to demonstrate knowledge, understanding, skills, creativity and competencies through the creation of a product, either in groups or individually. IPAs allow students to synthesize and apply their learning to authentic contexts across subject areas, while providing teachers with authentic measures of student performance.

Teams of teachers have been working since last spring developing IPAs for grades 3-8. They were introduced to students over the past several weeks.

(from l to r) Jennifer Gates/RES, Beth Ferguson/RES, Joe Beasley/GES, Krystle Demas/GES, Zarina Singh/BES

(from l to r) Jennifer Cosby/GES, Laura Hatcher/RES, Amy Spoonhower/GMS

Here’s some recent feedback from our team:

They were all so very engaged, I absolutely loved seeing them so focused on the task … so much creativity and they had so much freedom. Not one of my 5th grade students missed the mark on this IPA.Jennifer Cosby, 5th Grade/GES

With this being the first time, we can only imagine that our students will become better problem solvers, critical thinkers, and team players. Mrs. Johnston and I look forward to seeing the progression as we move forward.Zarina Singh, 4th Grade/BES

This has been an excellent experience for our students. We plan to share with them the “glows” and “grows” associated with the products we received this winter. This effort in modeling stellar performance, while also providing developmental feedback, is one that will be incorporated into our status quo for communicating and improving student performance.Amy Spoonhower, Science/GMS

The idea here is that students learn through inquiry and not rote tasks/memorization. We must foster this style of learning early in their academic careers and expect that it will continue through high school in order for our students to be best prepared for college and/or career. Problem solvers, thinkers, and team players are the types of citizens we are trying to develop.Beth Ferguson, 4th Grade/RES

My students loved the idea of being able to work together to produce a product. They had great feedback and really enjoyed being able to complete a project start to finish. They learned a lot about time management and teamwork! They recalled a lot of information and I was so impressed with what they created!Krystle Demas, 4th Grade/GES

The 5th grade teachers really liked the RAFT format (with SOL 5.4 Matter content) that was chosen for our IPA. The students did a FANTASTIC job on their performance assessment and actually enjoyed the experience — they did not necessarily view it as an “assessment.” Our team was very pleased with everything, and we plan on doing more and more IPAs over the course of the school year.Laura Hatcher, 5th Grade/RES

We’ll be asking our students to reflect on their experience with the division’s Integrated Performance Assessments as well.