Instructional Consultation

By Sylvia A. Rosenfield | Go to book overview

Chapter 5
ASSESSMENT OF ACADEMIC LEARNING

At present, tests . . . typically are not designed to guide the specifics of instruction. . . . They serve as an index to the standards of schools but they are not designed to effectively shape progress towards these standards -- and can do so only indirectly, if at all. In the twenty-first century, tests and other forms of assessment will be valued for their ability to facilitate constructive adaptations of educational programs.

-- Glaser, 1985, p. 1

In this chapter, assessment is considered as it relates to guiding the decisions teachers make about instruction in the classroom. Gickling and Havertape ( 1982) indicate the four stages of the assessment cycle as screening, identification, instruction, and measurement of progress. Typically, psychoeducational assessment has been focused on the stages of screening (early recognition of problems) and identification (discriminating, based on a normative framework, whether a student requires some kind of special service). Those two types of assessment, which have formed the bulk of the assessment literature in school psychology, do not, however, readily translate in a functional way to teachers who are responsible for a child's instruction ( Gickling & Havertape, 1982). We need, therefore, to turn our attention to assessment, that is related to instructional decision making, that is, assessment for instruction and measurement of progress.

Curriculum-based assessment (CBA) ( Tucker, 1985), also called direct assessment of academic skills ( Shapiro & Lentz, 1985), is a set of procedures "for determining the instructional needs of a student based upon the student's on-going performance within existing course content" ( Gickling & Havertape, 1982, p. 17). It "properly includes ANY procedure that directly assesses

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