Breadcrumbs

Performance view of understanding

The performance view of understanding is at the heart of teaching and learning at ASL.

Developed at Project Zero at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, the performance view of understanding states that learners have created meaning and developed their own understanding when they can apply their learning in novel and authentic ways or can teach it to someone else.  

“Understanding is being able to carry out a variety of actions or  ‘performances’ that show one’s grasp of a topic and at the same time advance it... Our ‘performance perspective,’ in brief, says that understanding is a matter of being able to do a variety of thought-demanding things with a topic—like explaining, finding evidence and examples, generalizing, analogizing, and representing the topic in a new way... It is being able to take knowledge and use it in new ways.” (Perkins & Blythe, 1991, p. 6; 1998, p. 13)

At ASL, the performance view of understanding is central to teaching and learning. We teach for understanding. Students learn best when they have the opportunity to apply their learning in context. Students have understood when they can apply their learning in novel and authentic ways. Curriculum, assessment and instruction should be designed so that students have the opportunity to demonstrate their learning in this way.