Mark T. Hulsewede
4 Types of Evidence
1. Performance Tasks—Complex challenges that mirror the issues and problems faced by adults. Ranging in length from short-term tasks to long-term, multistaged projects, they yield one or more tangible products and performances. They differ from academic prompts in the following ways:
· Involve real or simulated setting and the kind of constraints, background “noise”, incentives, and opportunities an adult would find in a similar situation (i.e., they are authentic)
· Typically require the student to address an identified audience (real or simulated)
· Are based on a specific purpose that relates to the audience
· Allow students greater opportunity to personalize the task

2. Academic Prompts—Open-ended questions or problems that require the student to think critically, not just recall knowledge, and to prepare specific academic response, product, or performance. Such questions or problems
· Require constructed responses to specific prompts under school and exam conditions
· Are “open”, with no single best answer or strategy expected for solving them
· Involve analysis, synthesis, and evalutation
· Typically require an explanation or defense of the answer given and methods used
· Require judgment-based scoring based on criteria and performance standards
· May or may not be secure
· Involve questions typically only asked of students in school

3. Quiz and Test Items—Familiar assessment formats consisting of simple, content-focused items that
· Assess for factual information, concepts, and discrete skill
· Are convergent, typically having a single, best answer
· May be easily scored using an answer key or machine
· Are typically secure (i.e., items are not known in advance

4. Informal Checks for Understanding—Ongoing assessments used as part of the instructional process. These assessments provide feedback to the teacher and the student. They are not typically scored or graded.
Effective educators use differientiated assessment methods. Students have separate, individual learning methods and therefore need to be assessed in multiple ways. The 4 Types of Evidence provide educators with the four types of differentiated assessment techniques. Assessing students in a multitude of ways allows students to grasp content by using higher-order thinking.
1. Performance Tasks— Auditions, athletic competitions, driving tests, and graduation recitals are all examples of PERFORMANCE TASKS that have been used for years. Other types of classroom examples could include designing a flyer to advertise an event, to plan and grow a garden, to participate in a mock job interview, balance a checkbook, or to plant flower bulbs.
2. Academic Prompts-- Open-ended questions typically begin with words such as "Why" and "How", or phrases such as "Tell me about..." An example would be:

Imagine you are a student at a college which does not currently have a physical education requirement but is considering adding one to the General Education curriculum. Write an argument in which you attempt to persuade the Student Senate (a body of elected student representatives from each of the four years) that they should support or oppose the addition of one 3 credit hour physical education course required of all students. You have 40 minutes in which to write your essay. You should try to write approximately 300 words, and your argument should be written in Standard English.
3. Quiz and Test Items-- Multiple choice, true/false, matching or short answer formats.
4. Informal Checks for Understanding-- Examples include teacher questioning, observations, examining student work, and think-alouds.
Student Impact
The Four Types of Evidence allows students to be assessed in a number of ways. When I thought about student impact I thought about my own strengths/weaknesses as a student. Personally, I was never the best at quizzes/testing or anything involving a “single best answer”. However, my strengths involved responding to an open-ended question (academic prompts), performing a task that I had been taught (performance task), or explaining myself in a group setting (think-alouds). The different types of assessment allow students to be assessed in a multitude of ways. This allows students to perform to their strengths or to work on their weaknesses. Bloom’s Taxonomy is evident in the 4 Types of Evidence.
Students often feel that their grade is a subjective assessment of how much their teacher likes/dislikes them. Teachers may find trouble in grading open-ended responses. Performance tasks are not secure: The task, evaluative criteria, and performance standards are known in advance and guide student work. Some teachers may find trouble considering the demographics of their students, the attention span of their audience, the ability to provide visuals, choosing a topic of interest, and presenting a lesson that is appealing and/or understandable to the students. The criteria/rubric used for grading can be a task for the teacher as well because it is often a challenge for educators to determine the evaluation criteria, comparing/contrasting student work, to articulate quality work to the students. Furthermore, there was nothing spoke of self-assessment and the benefits of a student using an educators rubric to grade their own work.
Wiggins, G. & McTighe, J. (2005). Understanding by Design (2nd Ed.). Alexandria, VA: ASCD. Pages 153-155.