Survey Results

Standards-Based Health Education and Assessment

Performance assessment offers teachers a way to measure studentsÌ knowledge and skills related to instruction in the classroom. In the field of health education, performance assessment shifts the emphasis from knowing health facts to developing health skills, thus providing a more complete and authentic picture of student achievement. Good assessment matches instructional goals and objectives, emphasizes higher-order thinking skills, has criteria that is clear to students and teachers, and provides feedback to students. It should be engaging and relevant to students, reflect real-world situations, and assess content knowledge and skill application.

Long Beach Unified School District (LBUSD) is committed to standards-based health education in conjunction with quality health education assessment. LBUSD utilizes materials from the Chief Council of State School Officers, State Collaborative on Assessment and Student Standards, Health Education Assessment Project (CCSSO~SCASS HEAP) as a foundation for assessment. California is a member of the state collaborative that has developed a bank of over 2,800 health education assessment items. This membership entitles California schools to have free access to these items.

Health Education Content assessed includes:

  • Personal and Community Health (PCH)
  • Mental, Emotional and Social Health (MESH)
  • Nutrition and Physical Activity (NPA)
  • Injury Prevention and Safety (IPS)
  • Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs (ATOD)
  • Growth, Development and Sexual Health (GDSH)

Health Skills assessed include:

  • Analyzing Influences (AI)
  • Accessing Valid Information (AVI)
  • Interpersonal Communication (IC)
  • Decision Making (DM)
  • Goal Setting (GS)
  • Practicing Health-Enhancing Behaviors (PB)
  • Promoting Health (PH)

Four types of Assessments are used:

  1. Selected Response (Multiple Choice Items) require students to select a correct answer from several options.

    -- Sample:
    Which of these actions would be considered ASSERTIVE communication when you are offered an alcoholic drink?
    1. Telling everyone how stupid people are who use alcohol.
    2. Saying, "No thanks, I don't drink".
    3. Taking a drink, but not drinking it.
    4. Getting into an argument with the person.
  2. Constructed response (short answer) require students to write one or two paragraphs within a limited amount of time addressing a specific writing prompt.  Student responses are scored using a rubric for concepts and a rubric for the specific health skill.

    -- Sample:
    Pat has been asked to speak briefly to an eighth grade class about secondhand smoke.  Write what Pat could say to persuade them to avoid secondhand smoke.  Include a definition of secondhand smoke and at least three risks associated with secondhand smoke.  Be sure to write it in a way that will convince eighth graders to avoid secondhand smoke.
  3. Performance events are curriculum-embedded activities that students complete within a single class period.  The studentÌs work includes a written response to a problem situation.  Student responses are scored using a rubric for concepts and a rubric for the specific health skill.

    -- Sample:
    You will be working in small groups to research and demonstrate how to respond to specific injuries or emergency situations.  Your teacher will assign the topic to your group.  You will need to research your topic from the resources in the classroom.  Your group will plan an oral presentation to the class about your topic which will include: a description of the injury or emergency and its symptoms/characteristics, a demonstration of how to respond, and a overhead or handout for the class explaining how to respond to the injury or emergency. 
  4. Performance tasks are curriculum-embedded, complex projects that students complete within a few class periods or outside of class.  While some of the work may be done in groups, one or more components of the project are completely individually.  Tasks are intended to assess both health knowledge and health skills. Student responses are scored using a rubric for concepts and a rubric for the specific health skill.

    -- Sample:
    Record your food intake over a period of three days (at least one of the days needs to be a Saturday or Sunday).  Record what you eat, how much, when, and where.  Evaluate your food intake by comparing it to the USDAÌs Dietary Guidelines for Americans and Food Guide Pyramid.  Determine what nutritional goals you should set based on your evaluation of your food intake and make a plan for reaching those goals.

Rubrics and Scoring:

The CCSSO~SCASS HEAP has developed specific, 4 point rubrics for scoring concepts and skills. The concepts rubric focuses on the studentÌs ability to comprehend health concepts, to make relationships between concepts and to draw conclusions about those relationships. The more comprehensive the response, the higher the score. The skills rubrics focus on proficiency in demonstrating a skill. The determination of proficiency is specific to each skill.


Students may collect a variety of performance events and tasks in a Health Portfolio. This collection of student work allows the student to showcase his/her best work in the class. Students may use these portfolios to show others what they have learned and what they can do in Health Education.

Portfolios help change the emphases of health education content by placing less emphasis on health facts and more emphasis on health concepts. They help promote the development of health literacy skills by placing less emphasis on health content and Ïgetting the answerÓ and more emphasis on health skills and developing a healthy lifestyle. They also help change the emphases of assessment by placing less emphasis on determining what students do not know and more emphasis on what students can do.

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