CTB/McGraw-Hill Introduces new Assessment Tool for Project-Based Learning

Lauren Williams's picture
Wednesday, November 14, 2012

CTB/McGraw-Hill, the nation’s leading educational assessment partner, announced the launch of Acuity® Performance Task System, a new performance assessment authoring system and item bank, which will enable teachers for the first time to evaluate project-based learning across multiple subjects using meaningful, research-based assessment methods.

This expansive new suite of customizable tools, which is aligned to the Common Core State Standards, is now available within CTB’s larger Acuity® InFormative Assessment™ solution.

Project-based learning is an increasingly popular method of instruction that facilitates learning by asking students to apply key knowledge and skills by solving real-world problems and performing exercises that push their critical-thinking abilities. Acuity Performance Task System allows teachers to create their own performance tasks — project-based learning modules with formative assessment capabilities fully integrated — for English Language Arts, math and science activities, which they can assign based on skill level or content area. Teachers have the option of asking students to provide written or multiple-choice responses to a reading passage, for example, or provide layered, multidimensional analysis in the form of charts, visual displays or mathematical formulas.

“We’ve long known that project-based learning is an ideal way to push students to develop the complex critical-thinking skills that the modern workplace and new Common Core State Standards demand, but only recently with sophisticated performance assessments have we been able to reliably and meaningfully gauge students’ understanding and application of their project-based lessons,” said Ellen Haley, president of CTB/McGraw-Hill. “Performance tasks aren’t just tests — they’re instructional tools. By formalizing the assessment process for project-based learning, we can help guide a far more meaningful learning experience and foster the higher-order thinking skills that are so invaluable in the classroom and beyond.”

While the Acuity Performance Task authoring system allows for virtually limitless customization, the program’s pre-loaded bank of 400 rigorous research-based performance tasks in English and math provides a solid foundation of immediately usable project-based learning and assessment content. And although the tasks are Common-Core aligned, the customizable nature of the system means that they could easily be aligned to state or local standards as well.

The system also provides instructors with the ability to align performance tasks to multiple rubrics (student and educator) and use content that they have generated themselves or that has been supplied by CTB.

Acuity Performance Task System’s highly intuitive interface also allows educators to administer and score performance tasks entirely within an online testing environment, and the highly flexible administration model means that tasks can be assigned and completed in any given timeframe.

Each performance task can be divided into distinct steps so that students can work through the task as a process rather than all at once. Teachers can score a particular step of a task and, as needed, assign additional instructional resources before a student moves on to the next step.

The scoring system features both global and task-specific reporting capabilities, all within Acuity’s comprehensive reporting system that drills down to the most granular level.

To learn more about Acuity Performance Task System and Acuity InFormative Assessment, please visit www.ctb.com/acuity.

About CTB/McGraw-Hill

CTB/McGraw-Hill has an 85-year record of innovation and excellence in assessment, and serves more than 18 million students in all 50 states and in 49 countries. One of the first American publishers to introduce objective, standardized achievement tests to schools, today CTB/McGraw-Hill is a leader in testing with recognized products for online interim and formative, adult, and language proficiency assessment. Dedicated to advancing the use of student performance data to inform instructional decision making, CTB/McGraw-Hill’s innovation continues today with technologies that include Web-based assessment and reporting, student response device software, and artificial intelligence for automated scoring of student essays. CTB/McGraw-Hill is part of McGraw-Hill Education, a division of The McGraw-Hill Companies (NYSE: MHP). McGraw-Hill Education is a leading global provider of instructional, assessment and reference solutions that empower professionals and students of all ages. For more information, visit CTB.com/AboutUs.