14 Math Performance Task Resources

Apr 24, 2014 by

14 Math Performance Task Resources
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Performance tasks are about to become a huge part of our mathematical life at school (if they aren’t already). My district is in the process of adopting a new math curriculum program for next year, but as of now we have zero performance task examples to use with the students.  Until we get a program that gives us tasks (and from what I’ve seen-they aren’t great), I have to do some digging on my own.

I went to the Asilomar Math Conference this past fall, and one of the workshops was on what a performance task truly looks like. The points that stuck with me were that it give the students a problem to solve, the information to solve it, but not the formula to do so. The students have to figure out the formula and how to use the information given. To break it down, tasks should:

  • be open-ended
  • not have a formula or solution path that is obvious
  • require students to dig deep and not rely on memorized facts
  • require students to use the mathematical practices
  • require students to communicate their conclusions to peers

It’s really amazing what people/companies are trying to call ‘Performance Tasks’. While researching this list, I came across website after website of word problems that were called tasks. A popular problem type would list a recipe and ask students to double it. It seems to me this would not be considered a performance task because it is obvious that you are taking the recipes amounts and multiplying them by two. A better task topic would be to give students information on two different used cars, such as miles driven/repair costs/gas mileage, and then ask students which is the better deal. Students are given information, but they are not told which pieces to use or how to use it.

Here’s a list of websites that provide free performance tasks for you to use with your students. From what I can see, all these tasks fit the definition I was given. In my file cabinet, I have a file folder for each type of math that my students learn throughout the year (adding and subtraction fractions, dividing decimals, etc.) that is devoted to performance tasks. I may not give one every chapter, but at least I have a place to put them as I find them.  I’ve tried to vet these to best of my ability, so feel free to print, file and use!


Inside Mathematics

Exemplars (free samples)

Balanced Assessment

Mathematics Performance Task Bank

Stuff with Pizza Fraction Task

Time for Recess Geometry Task

Really Interesting Real-World Tasks

Fifth Grade Teacher Created Tasks

Illustrative Mathematics

PALM Performance Tasks

Fifth Grade Tasks

Smarter Balance Practice Performance Task 1

Smarter Balance Practice Performance Task 2

Example Smarter Balance Tasks




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