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COMMON CORE STANDARDS
Writing Grades 9-10
W.9-10.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
W.9-10.8 Gather relevant information from multiple authoritative print and digital sources, using advanced searches effectively; assess the usefulness of each source in answering the research question; integrate information into the text selectively to maintain the flow of ideas, avoiding plagiarism and following a standard format for citation.
Writing Grades 11-12
W.11-12.2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.
W.11-12.8 Gather relevant information from multiple authoritative print and digital sources, using advanced searches effectively; assess the strengths and limitations of each source in terms of the task, purpose, and audience; integrate information into the text selectively to maintain the flow of ideas, avoiding plagiarism and overreliance on any one source and following a standard format for citation.
DESCRIPTION OF ASSESSMENT
This Grades 9-12 assessment titled “Watchdog Reporter” created by the Virtual Learning Academy Charter School (VLACS) for the Innovation Lab Network Performance Assessment Project is a curriculum-embedded task that takes approximately 1-2 weeks to complete. In this computer-based task, students take on the role of investigative reporters for a watchdog group. Through the investigative process, each student independently reviews a variety of print and non-print sources on a specific topic of their choosing in order to determine if the reported information is accurate and being reported fairly. As the culminating task, each student independently creates a watchdog report using the information gathered. The final product can be in the form of a podcast, article, blog post, video-cast or another presentation method.
Connecticut teachers are cautioned that the task assumes that students have knowledge of how to find, assess, and use non-print informational texts. If this assessment is used as an introductory formative assessment task to be repeated later in the year to more fully assess student proficiency in gathering/assessing informational texts, supports for students who are ELL, have disabilities, or read well below the grade level text band may be needed. Some of the links embedded in the task write-up are broken but can easily be replaced with an Internet search of the topic. Computer access is required to carry out this assessment as intended. The pacing of the task is approximate and may have to be altered to allow for the rigor intended. If this task is used in a history/social studies course, the ELA/Literacy standards listed above will need to be replaced with the English Language Arts Standards in History/Social Studies that are targeted (See the link below). Since the task also aligns with the Social Studies C3 Frameworks Standards, these standards could also be added. For direct links to these sources, see below:
- English Language Arts Standards in History/Social Studies, Grades 9-10
- English Language Arts Standards in History/Social Studies, Grades 11-12
- Connecticut Elementary and Secondary Social Studies C3 Frameworks
RATIONALE FOR SELECTION
This performance task is a good example of how to provide for authentic assessment, application of literacy skills, student-directed inquiry, analysis, evaluation and/or reflection. It uses technology and media to deepen learning and draw attention to evidence and texts as appropriate. Materials include Student Instructions, Teacher Directions, and a Research or Argumentation Rubric that provides sufficient guidance for interpreting student performance. The performance task aligns with the Connecticut social studies frameworks for secondary grades and could be used to complement an existing unit in a U.S. History or Political Science course.