Redesigned High Schools for Transformed STEM Learning: Performance Assessment Pilot Outcome

  • Jeremy Vaughn Ernst Virginia Tech
  • Elizabeth J Glennie Research Triangle Institute
Keywords: performance assessment, redesigned STEM schools, at-risk indicators


This performance assessment pilot study was a major research component of the overall National Science Foundation funded Redesigned High Schools for Transformed STEM Learning Project. Secondary Earth/Environmental Science students’ abilities to translate cognitive knowledge into demonstrable performance-based proficiencies were specifically examined. Proficiencies assessed included evaluation, prediction, analysis, synthesis, and reasoning in the contexts of soil and water, clouds and weather, acid rain, and astronomy-based performance tasks. This manuscript presents research protocols, implementation process, and collective determination of proficiency rates among Project student participants. Results of the pilot study indicated that approximately 48 percent of student participants demonstrated performance-based proficiency of knowledge. Implications on evidence-based iterations of school models, state mandated assessment practices, and classroom factors in support of performance-based proficiencies are discussed.

Author Biographies

Jeremy Vaughn Ernst, Virginia Tech
Jeremy V. Ernst is an Associate Professor in the Integrative STEM Education Program at Virginia Tech. Dr. Ernst specializes in research focused on dynamic intervention means for STEM education students categorized as at-risk of dropping out of school.
Elizabeth J Glennie, Research Triangle Institute
Elizabeth J. Glennie is a Senior Education Research Analyst at Research Triangle Institute. Her research focuses on the impact of policies on teachers and students, particularly the factors influencing success in secondary school and access to college.