(PAs) typically require students to construct a response or product that demonstrates their knowledge or skill. PAs typically are based on instructional techniques and application of higher level thinking skills practiced during regular instruction. Students have a clear understanding of what is expected and how they will be evaluated. The criteria or standards for judging degrees of success are clearly outlined; the indicate more than just right/wrong responses.
Product and behavior measurements based on settings designed to emulate real-life contexts or conditions in which specific knowledge or skills are actually applied. American Educational Research Association, American Psychological Association, & National Council on Measurement in Education. (1999). Standards for educational and psychological testing. Washington, DC: American Educational Research Association, p. 179.
Performance assessments are tests that directly assess pupil performance. Many performance assessments call on students to produce solutions to "constructed response" (short answer) items or open-ended questions. They may call for students to write an essay or short response, draw a conclusion, respond to a reading passage, or perform a science experiment. Teachers or other school personnel may observe students' performances and rate the outcomes. Performance assessments can also measure listening skills, writing, and the process of problem solving.