Assessment tasks are the specific activities students engage in throughout—as well as at the end of—learning processes to determine if the learning outcomes have been achieved (Biggs & Tang, 2007). The tasks should be aligned to the learning outcomes in order to ensure the product produced by the student provides meaningful evidence of learning. The evidence produced by the assessment task can not only be used for the purpose of informing teachers, students, and others interested in the students’ learning in regards to what the student knows and can do currently, but can also guide decisions involving the future steps needed in the learning process. There will be three parts to this article.

First, assessment tasks can be categorized in several different ways. Common ways of organizing types of assessment tasks includes focus on the type of product produced, the way evidence is gathered from the task, or individual versus group assessment tasks. The type of product produced includes examples such as written tasks, performance tasks, project-based tasks, portfolios, and case studies. Ways of gathering evidence of learning from the task involves evaluating writing, observing student actions, interviewing students, and recording students. While some assessment tasks require students to work in groups or as individuals, they all should allow for meaningful evidence addressing an individual student’s learning as aligned to the learning outcome.

Second, a characteristic all types of assessment tasks share is either the demonstration of a process or the creation of a product by the student that shows what they know or can do in a way that is as explicit as possible (Pellegrino, DiBello, & Goldman, 2016), or both. Criteria for selecting or creating assessment tasks most importantly require alignment between the learning objective and the task. This alignment is dependent on clear, student-centered learning objectives and includes both content and the cognitive level engagement of the student. Other considerations include the learner characteristics such as age, prior achievement, culture and linguistic background; student and teacher time needed to complete the task; student autonomy in regards to choice; and other resources, such as the state department of education, needed to develop quality tasks.

Finally, this article takes up special considerations and new developments in assessment tasks, specifically regarding managing assessment tasks and using assessment tasks in different teaching environments. This includes building and updating banks of tasks used by teachers over time; developing assessment tasks in collaboration with other teachers; and selecting appropriate numbers of tasks to ensure reliability and generalizability. Also, attention is given to the rapid development of online assessment tasks. Other special considerations are not covered in this article but can be found elsewhere in the encyclopedia such as summative vs. formative evaluation; rubric creation and scoring; providing feedback through assessment tasks; and grading.