Uniform Education Standards Seen Timely; Could Reform Assessing Students
Byline: Ben Wolfgang, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
The push by states to implement a common core of standards by 2014 presents an opportunity to revamp student assessment methods and correct problems that have plagued the system for the past decade, according to researchers.
Greater use of technology, more creative ways of teaching science and special attention to measuring students for whom English is a second language are critical in the next round of assessments, according to a new report released Monday from the Rennie Center for Education Research and Policy and the Policy Analysis for California Education, a nonpartisan research center based at the University of California, Berkeley.
Pencil-and-paper-based tests are not capable of measuring complex intellectual performances, said Chris Dede, a professor at Harvard University's Graduate School of Education.
Mr. Dede and his colleagues are developing ways to teach students what scientists do on a day-to-day basis, rather than asking them to memorize facts and formulas for a written exam each year. For example, he has helped develop a video-game-style teaching tool that requires students to collect information, formulate a hypothesis, come to a conclusion and back it up with facts.
Forty-two states and the District of Columbia will fully implement Common Core standards for the 2014-15 school year. The curricula, developed by educators in states across the country and coordinated by the National Governors Association, establish new standards in math, reading and other subjects.
Since the passage of the No Child Left Behind Act in 2001, states have been largely free to set up their own assessments and prepare their students accordingly. Many have criticized state standards because they are often not on par with national benchmarks set by the Department of Education's National Assessment of Education Program. …