Process-oriented assessment is a means of educational performance-based assessment whereby students are assessed on their powers of reasoning and self-motivation. Process-oriented assessment, which might involve self-assessment checklists or journals, gives students the opportunity to evaluate their own learning and set targets for improvement. Naturally, they must first be aware of the criteria by which they are assessed.
Process-oriented assessment is one of three types of performance-based assessment, all of which are designed to gauge how well and to what extent students are able to apply their theoretical knowledge to practical situations. The other two types of performance-based assessment are products and performances.
Products are the tangible results of a student's learning. They include reports, papers and multimedia clips, and they are typically completed by students as homework assignments.
Performances are similar to products, but they are presented within the classroom environment, that is, under the teacher's observation. They include spoken presentations, dramatic performances, practical demonstrations and class debates.
The importance of performance-based assessments in education is as a qualitative counterbalance to quantitative test scores. It is argued by many educators that a student's ability to recall information for a formal examination gives little insight into their actual understanding, and even less into their ability to utilize that information outside of the examination room.
Performance-based assessments are only considered "authentic" by the National Capital Language Resource Center if they are of interest to students, involve creative problem-solving and allow for self-assessment, among other criteria.