Magazine article AMLE Magazine

Beyond Today's Assessments

Magazine article AMLE Magazine

Beyond Today's Assessments

Article excerpt

For years, teachers have rightly complained that tests encourage them to focus on a narrow set of knowledge and skills rather than the broader set of abilities they know their students need. Now, however, the testing world is about to undergo the biggest transformation in a generation, and the result is likely to be higher-quality tests that measure what truly matters.

Last month, I noted that the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in English language arts and mathematics have been adopted by 46 states and the District of Columbia. Over the past three years, two groups of states have been developing new assessments to measure student performance against those standards. The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), a group of 19 states, and the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC), a group of 24 states, aim to have their new assessments in place in the 2014-2015 school year.

These new assessments will differ from the standardized tests teachers have come to know and dislike. For one thing, they will be delivered by computer, although paper versions will be available for schools that lack the equipment or bandwidth to administer the computerized versions. The use of technology will enable much quicker results.

In addition, the assessments will go beyond multiple-choice responses to allow for short and extended constructed responses as well as some performance tasks that give students the opportunity to complete in-depth projects to demonstrate their analytical and problem-solving abilities. Although teachers have said that testing takes up too much instructional time, these tasks will be the kinds of activities students should be doing.

As a result, the new assessments will measure a broader range of knowledge and skills than current tests. They will assess whether students have a deep understanding of core content and whether they can use their knowledge to think critically, solve problems, and communicate effectively. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.