This month, I am sharing some sure-fire ways to get your students communicating mathematically through their writing. Today’s strategy is a performance assessment. Performance assessments are great alternatives to worksheets and tests and provide an opportunity for students to respond to a content-focused question.

Performance assessments are a great summative assessment tool to use at the end of a lesson cycle. Students can record their responses on notebook paper but can also be collected in a spiral in order to create an on-going portfolio of student work.

Here’s how it works:

Consider the following prompt:

Robin multiplied two numbers together to get a product that has a difference from the product of 29 x 76 of about 90. **What ****two numbers might she have multiplied together? Justify your answer. **(**5.NBT.B.5**– Fluently multiply multi-digit whole numbers using the standard algorithm.)

1. Present students with a prompt based on a current learning objective.

2. Review the prompt to be sure all of the students understand the task.

3. Ask students to justify their answers with pictures, words, and/or numbers.

Performance assessments are best evaluated using a rubric. The rubric to the right is one that I have used for many years. You can grab a free copy of

it here.

**Sound Off! **How will you use this strategy with your own students?

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