Welcome to the Montclair State University Performance Assessment System Home Page.
We invite you to explore this page to learn about the nature and benefits of standards-based performance assessments and the details of Montclair State University’s innovative system for assessing the performance of candidates in our programs for teachers and other school professionals.
At Montclair State University, we use a standards-based performance assessment system to assess the progress of candidates at different stages in the University’s programs for teachers and other school professionals. Below, we define key concepts and explain the characteristics of such a system.
Standards are written expectations for performance. Our institutional standards (also referred to as the Montclair State University standards) articulate the knowledge, skills and dispositions we want our candidates to have by the time they complete their program at Montclair State University. These standards guide our curriculum, instruction, field and clinical experiences, and assessments. They also make our expectations for outcomes and levels of proficiency for candidate performance clear and explicit for students, faculty and potential employers. Our system is standards-based in the sense that we use our institutional standards as guidelines for designing assessments and for evaluating student progress toward achieving particular outcomes and levels of proficiency.
Performance assessments require those being assessed to demonstrate their knowledge and proficiencies. Candidates in our programs for teachers and other school professionals may be asked to create a product (e.g., an instructional unit plan) or perform a task (e.g., adapt an instructional plan for an English language learner and a student with a disability), which is then evaluated according to previously established performance criteria. These criteria are presented in the form of rubrics – that is, written statements for determining levels of performance.
Our process for assessing candidates’ performance is a system in that it is carefully planned and organized so that we gather and analyze data about student performance in ways that make the data useful for candidate advisement and program improvement.
There are a number of advantages of a standards-based performance assessment system for candidates and prospective candidates to Montclair State University’s programs for teachers and other school professionals. They include the following:
- Because we have articulated our institutional standards, potential candidates know the qualities our programs are designed to cultivate in candidates before they apply for admission to one of our programs for teachers and other school professionals. They can decide whether their own professional values and goals are compatible with those of the program.
- The rubrics for each performance assessment make the criteria for assessing candidate performance transparent and explicit. By having access to the rubrics, potential and current candidates know ahead of time the types of performance that do not meet, meet, and exceed program expectations.
- By referring to the standards, candidates can monitor their own developing proficiency as they progress through the program.
- Standards provide a common language for communication between faculty members and students and, in particular, between advisors and advisees.
- Because the assessments evaluate candidates’ performance on tasks that are designed according to current professional standards, advisors can provide focused and detailed advisement based on candidates’ actual performance on key professional tasks that will be important in their future professional lives.
- Because the Montclair State University institutional standards are based on standards articulated by professional organizations and because our curriculum, instruction, field and clinical experiences, and assessments are based on our institutional standards, candidates in programs for teachers and other school professionals can be confident that successful completion of the program will prepare them well for their professions.