Measurable Performance Activity Models

Social Studies Review, January 1, 2015 | Go to article overview

Measurable Performance Activity Models


This article presents a number of measurable performance and simulation types of activities that can be added to social studies units of study that do not have them. Some units of study printed or referenced in this issue often do not have final measurable performance activities, in which students participate in a debate, create and make presentations, engage in simulated trials or conferences, or make a display presentation. In such cases, one or more of the activity models here can be added as a summative activity, as was done in the American Indian model unit article. The article about organizations contains some descriptions and website sources for more social studies units; some are performance activities and some are not. Whichever, extending a unit into a measurable performance activity has the students use content they just studied. In some cases, the units can be recast into measurable performance activities: different student groups can research a part of the activity and report in a conference or a Congressional hearing activity. Students can be assigned to make display projects on all or part of the unit. Almost always students can be given a persuasive essay prompt, and these can be formulated as regular essays, letters to a newspaper editor, a political speech, a radio talk show; many possibilities exist. Rubric score averages for all students and all specified subgroups can then be reported in LCAP metrics, as explained and illustrated in the 'How to Report' article.

Rubrics for each model are in the 'General Rubric' article.

Organizations that created these models are explained and referenced in the article listing History Social Science/Social Studies organizations that have units.

The Congressional Hearing Model

This model consists of a Committee Hearing Panel that listens to testimony from interested persons (groups of students) on a specific subject. Groups can be assigned to represent specific interest groups, lobbying groups, political parties, and so on. Each group does its research and then makes a presentation to the Congressional Hearing Committee. The Committee panel members then ask questions of the persons giving testimony. Each committee panel member is also assigned a particular role and perspective, so as to have a frame of reference for developing questions. The Committee panel members then vote on the issues of the specific subject.

Each panel member writes an individual position paper describing why the member voted the way they did. Each person writes a position paper advancing and supporting their testimony.

In a classroom: An issue/topic is determined. Groups are formed to support specific recommendations on the issue. A committee panel is selected, or is the teacher. Note that the teacher would need to present a decision paper to the class.

In a school: Whole classes become the supporters of specific recommendations. Spokespersons for each class are selected to give testimony. In a school wide activity, the Hearing Panel is composed of all the teachers of participating classes; each teacher would present a decision paper to the classes.

Applications: This model can be used for contemporary issues as well as historical ones, and can deal with any number of types of issues, from recommendations on dealing with the current California drought, to simulated recommendations for settling a past war, for recommending ways to increase energy efficiency, for ways to deal with fiscal crisis.

If desired, a school wide class competition can be created with this model.

The Model United Nations Conference Model

This model is based on conferences and debates held in the General Assembly and Security Council of the United Nations. Designed as a contest among school teams, it can also be modified and used as a grade level conference or an inter-school grade level conference.

Groups of students (teams in a class, whole classes, whole grade levels) are assigned specific nations or recognized groups without a state (e. …

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