Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Christopher R Gareis

Committee Member

Megan Tschannen-Moran

Committee Member

Leslie Grant


In 2014, the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) communicated a plan to replace five Standards of Learning (SOL) assessments with alternative assessments based on legislation passed by the Virginia General Assembly (VDOE, 2014b, p. 1). School districts were able to choose the type of alternative assessment to implement, yet they were encouraged to use authentic performance assessments and a portfolio approach. One suburban school district in central Virginia chose a portfolio approach as the alternative assessment. Drawing upon the transdisciplinary approach of program evaluation (Mertens & Wilson, 2012), this study examined the quality of teacher-selected performance-based assessments implemented with students as one artifact within a collection of assessments available in the portfolio in two middle school social studies courses. The Virginia Quality Criteria Review Tool for Performance Assessments was employed as the instrument to examine the assessments for quality. The aim of this study was to strengthen the practice of consistently implementing quality performance assessments with students by answering the evaluation questions: To what degree do performance assessments used as local alternative assessments to Virginia Standards of Learning tests for accountability meet the state’s criteria for quality? How are performance-based assessments being implemented in United States History to 1865 (USI) and United States History 1865 to the Present (USII) courses in PCPS? What are USI and USII teachers’ perspectives on the merit and worth of the performance assessment process in PCPS? What are USI and USII teachers’ recommendations for developing and using quality performance assessments in PCPS moving forward?




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