Principles and Practices of Performance Assessment

By Nidhi Khattri; Alison L. Reeve et al. | Go to book overview
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Facilitators and Barriers
in Assessment Reform
As described in the preceding chapter, assessment reform is taking place at multiple levels--national, state, district, and school--with the goal of meeting several purposes:
Monitoring student progress.
Holding schools and teachers accountable for student performance.
Certifying student achievement and skills.
Aligning curriculum, instruction, and assessment.
Influencing instructional practices.

These purposes are not mutually exclusive, and any one performance assessment system may be intended to target several purposes at once.

Data collected during our study reveal that several factors function as facilitators or as barriers in the assessment reform process and, thus, as facilitators of or barriers to achieving the stated purposes of performance assessment systems. For example, if a state develops and implements an assessment system for the purpose of certifying student achievement, then a reliable scoring procedure is a facilitator for the intended use of the system. However, if there are technical problems (e.g., low interrater reliability) with the system, then those problems serve as a barrier to using the system to certify student achievement; no system that is technically unsound can be justifiably used for certifying student capabilities.

Our analysis of facilitators and barriers in assessment reform is complicated by the fact that many performance assessment systems--particularly those established at the state level--are intended to achieve multiple purposes, and factors that facilitate the achievement of one purpose may serve as a barrier to


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