Designing Effective Projects : Planning Projects
Project Ideas

Types of Products and Performance Tasks
A performance task is an assessment challenge that requires a learner ’s knowledge and skill to perform the task or create the product to show what they know. In the Understanding by Design Professional Development Workbook (2004), Jay McTighe and Grant Wiggins define the following criteria for performance tasks:

  • Use real or simulated settings with the kinds of constraints, background noise, incentives, and opportunities an adult would find in a similar situation
  • Require learners to address an identified audience
  • Are based on a specific purpose that relates to the audience
  • Allow learners greater opportunity to personalize the task
  • Are not secure; the task, criteria, and assessment standards are known in advance and guide learner work

Products and Performance Tasks

Products                                                              Examples
Reports Historical research, scientific research, journal article for publication, policy recommendations
Constructions Models, machines, exhibits, diorama
Essays Letters-to-the editor, guest column for local newspaper or community publication, book and movie reviews, story writing
Designs Home design, building or school design blueprints, transportation alternatives
Artistic expressions Pottery, sculpture, poetry, fine art, posters, cartoon, mural, collage, painting, song writing, movie script
Print media

Nature trail guide, self-guided walk through community history, public service announcement, history scrapbook, photo timeline, investigative documentary, commercial, training manual, animation/cartoon

Informational kiosk, video, photo journal, slideshow, digital book
Performances                                                   Examples
Presentations Persuasive proposal, inspiring speech, debate, informative lecture, research analysis and conclusions, newscast
Skill demonstrations Science laboratory processes, constructions, specific sports skills, teaching or mentoring younger learners
Artistic/creative performances Interpretive dance, play, skit, character study, docu-drama, readers’ theater, radio plays
Simulations Mock trial, re-enactment of historical event, role play

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