Everything we do is a performance with an outcome. Writing creates a story. Building creates a house. Learning changes your brain.

When we assess a performance, we measure it’s quality to determine what was strong, what could be improved, and what we have learned from the experience. We then can communicate this to the performer, who may be another, or our self.

Performances have a set of common elements that explain the effects we see and let us improve future performances by learning something new, improving a learning skill, better controlling ourselves, adapting to our environments, and so on. Knowing these elements helps us break a performance down into its parts, measure each part, recognize strengths, and plan improvements.

The most important thing about assessment and performance is the intent we bring to it. Many people evaluate performance in terms of whether it meets a standard. That is not assessing the performance for improvement; rather, it is judging performance to see if it meets a standard. Evaluation, or judging, is not for the sake of the performer, but for the benefit of the evaluator — should I hire you, give you a raise, certify you, award an “A”, or maybe even punish you.

When the intent of measuring the quality of the performance is to improve future performances by the performer, then it is assessment for improvement. It is the far greater tool for improving. Judgments of us tend to not teach us, but to get a negative emotional response. Assessments are designed and delivered with kindness and intent to teach, and when done properly, result in much greater learning.

See our podcasts, blog posts, and articles on performance and assessment. Copy the following table to help you organize your performance assessments. Keep each assessment of your performances in your learning journal. A google sheet form is in the free performance & learning community.

Assessment Observations & Recommendations
Strength 1
Strength 2
Opportunity 1
Opportunity 2
Insight 1
Insight 2
Plan for Improvement
Step 1
Step 2
Step 3
Step 4