Prescribed versus enacted curriculum : analyzing authentic assessments through performance tasks
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As the requirements for completion of a high school diploma and the standards set locally and nationally take shifts towards more rigorous coverage of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), and applicability to the work place, public school curricula must evolve. This report focuses on an urban school district in Texas in the midst of transitioning towards using (i) assessments based on use of STEM principles in “authentic” applications and (ii) product-based evaluations dubbed performance tasks. Physics instructors within the district provided their experiences in the implementation process as well as their views on the authenticity of the tasks they are urged to use. The information from the physics teachers was used as the basis for identifying areas for professional training needed to support instructors in the use of authentic assessments, whether prescribed or instructor-developed.