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California Performance Assessment Collaborative

California Performance Assessment Collaborative

The California Performance Assessment Collaborative (CPAC) convenes educators, policymakers, and researchers who are working to analyze and advance the use of authentic approaches to assess and support student learning. Performance assessments, such as presentations, projects, and portfolios, require students to demonstrate applied knowledge of content and develop 21st century skills needed for success in school, college, and careers. CPAC provides a professional learning community dedicated to the advancement of high-quality and equitable performance assessments for California students.

Throughout the school year, CPAC members deepen and refine their performance assessment practices through virtual and in-person meetings, site visits, and information sharing. Participants have developed common principles that inform and guide their various approaches to performance assessment.

The Learning Policy Institute supports CPAC by orchestrating learning opportunities for participants and researching and documenting performance assessment practices. The lessons captured and documented can inform practitioners seeking to implement performance assessments in their schools, districts, and networks. Research findings can also provide local, state, and federal policymakers with important information and context as they develop next-generation assessment and accountability policies.

The Power of Performance Assessments: Oakland Unified’s Graduate Capstone Project

In the Oakland Unified School District, a yearlong Graduate Capstone Project provides an opportunity for students to research, analyze, and become experts in a topic of their own choosing. LPI’s video shows how this complex project, which is used as a districtwide performance assessment, is building students’ ownership of their own learning and helping them develop and use critical thinking and communication skills.
Reflections on Oakland’s Graduate Capstone Project

Reflections on Oakland’s Graduate Capstone Project

Oakland students, teachers, and school and district administrators reflect on the district’s Graduate Capstone Project and its impact on teaching and learning. This rigorous, yearlong performance assessment culminates with a research paper and a formal presentation before teachers, school staff, and members of the community.


Funding for this project has been provided by the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and Stuart Foundation. Core operating support for the Learning Policy Institute is provided by the Heising-Simons Foundation, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Raikes Foundation, Sandler Foundation, Skyline Foundation, and MacKenzie Scott. We are grateful to them for their generous support.


CPAC is composed of district administrators from Fresno, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Oakland, Pasadena, Sacramento City, and San Francisco school districts, as well as administrators at several county offices of education, including Alameda, Fresno, Los Angeles, and San Diego. Together, these participants represent dozens of high schools and thousands of students engaged in performance assessments. Members of several major school networks also collaborate with and participate in CPAC, including Big Picture Learning, Envision Schools, High Tech High, Internationals Network for Public Schools, and New Tech Network. The CPAC network also includes educators from over 60 individual schools from across the state.

CPAC partners include ConnectED: The National Center for College and Career, Envision Learning Partners, and the Linked Learning Alliance.