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"What grade did you give me?" students often ask teachers, as if teachers randomly assign grades. Too many students do not understand how their academic performance in the classroom corresponds with various grades. Improving students' understanding of what their teachers expect them to do, how well they should be able to do it, and how they should go about accomplishing it is what this book is all about. Lewin and Shoemaker show you how to teach rich, integrated, thematic units of instruction where students grapple with meaty conceptual ideas and use the processes of reading, writing, problem solving, and investigation. The authors share what they've learned about developing and assessing powerful performance tasks¿ranging from short and specific to lengthy and substantive. Their focus is on the practical, the doable. You can learn from their successes as well as their mistakes. The authors discuss a four-step approach for teaching students how to acquire content knowledge¿labeled "Info In"¿and examine four "Info Out" modes through which students can make their content understanding explicit for evaluation purposes. Great Performances is filled with highly motivating examples of student projects as well as effective assessment tools that teachers can adapt for their own classrooms. In this new edition, you will find: ¿ updated examples and scoring mechanisms throughout the chapters; ¿ expanded options for converting performance task scores into required letter grades for reporting to parents; and ¿ a new chapter on reading assessment to help teachers navigate their way through Response to Intervention. This chapter also provides as a helpful review of popular commercially published in-class reading assessments. Teaching to and assessing with performance tasks result in true understanding--the type of understanding students will need in the world, where they will be expected to produce "Great Performances."