Performance Task Assessments

  • Overview

    The Wake County Public School System’s Vision2020 Strategic Plan is focused on graduating students who are ready to be successful in college, in the workforce, and as productive citizens in our communities. To meet that goal, we know students must develop their knowledge in reading, mathematics, science, and other subjects. We also know that key skills such as critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, and communication – sometimes called the “4 Cs” – are just as important for our students for life in the 21st century. Knowing how our students are developing in these key areas will help us create learning experiences that better prepare them for their futures.

    To assess our students’ abilities to think critically, solve problems, and communicate clearly, all 4th and 7th grade students will participate in a performance task annually. Participation in the performance task will not impact your student’s grades or academic standing in any way. The information gathered will be used by your student’s school to evaluate how well they are preparing all students to be effective communicators and critical thinkers.


    Questions and Answers


    Who will participate? 

    All students in grades 4 and 7 who are taught the standard course of study will participate.


    Are Single Subject Acceleration (SSA) students expected to participate if being taught on a 4th / 7th grade level?

    The principal at each school will determine whether SSA students are to participate in the performance task.


    What is the format of the performance tasks?

    The performance tasks are not like a typical multiple choice test.

    • The tasks present students with a realistic scenario or problem and include related documents.
    • To respond, students will be asked to analyze the information and write a response.


    How were the tasks developed?

    The tasks were created through a collaborative effort between WCPSS teachers, central office staff, and performance assessment experts.


    Will the performance tasks be factored into student grades?

    No, the tasks will not to be used for grading purposes.


    When will the tasks be administered?

    • Schools have the option of choosing their participation date during the pre-set administration window in March.
    • There is no make-up date for students who are absent on the administration day.


    Can students with an IEP/504/LEP plan use accommodations?

    Students who have an Individualized Education Program (IEP), Limited English Proficiency (LEP), or Section 504 Plan will also participate in the performance tasks.

    • Students will participate using the appropriate accommodations as outlined in their plan.
    • Large print and Braille will be available to students who require those modified formats.
    • Case managers will not need to reconvene to modify any student’s plan.
    • Students taught on the Extended Content Standards are not required to participate.


    How long will the performance tasks take?

    Students will have up to 90 minutes to respond to the task.


    Is there a break scheduled within the task?

    There is not a scheduled break embedded in the tasks. However, students will be allowed to go to the restroom and take care of other personal matters as needed.


    When will schools receive the results?

    We are expecting scores to be finalized over the summer.


    How will schools use the results?

    The results will give schools and the district a clear way to measure and determine how well students are developing their 4Cs skills.


    Will schools administer the performance tasks in future years as well?

    • The current plan is to administer the tasks every year as part of a more balanced assessment system as per our strategic plan.
    • New tasks will be field tested sometime this spring, which will enable the district to have additional tasks for use in future years.

    Other Questions:

    • If you have any other questions or concerns, please contact your school.