Deeper Learning Practice

The Power of Performance Assessments

Oakland Unified’s Graduate Capstone Project

Student presenting performance assessment
Learning Policy Institute
October 2017 | Learning Policy Institute
Student presenting performance assessment

This Learning Policy Institute case study provides an overview of and reflection on the Graduate Capstone Projects in Oakland Unified School District. It illuminates the power of performance assessment coupled with deeper learning to provide students with the challenge and opportunity to solve authentic problems that have an impact in the real world. During the yearlong capstone project, students delve deeply into issues that interest them, designing their own research projects that include analyzing online and print sources and conducting fieldwork. In addition to completing a research paper, students share their findings and analyses with peers, teachers, and the broader community in a formal presentation. As part of the district’s Linked Learning initiative, students additionally explore career pathways through coursework and related internships.