Assessment has received increasing attention throughout the 1970s and into the 1990s. Initially appearing in the standards developed by state departments of education, by 1980 over half of the states had adopted statewide student-testing programs. In Educational Standards in the 50 States: 1990, the Educational Testing Service reported that, by 1985, over 40 states had adopted such programs, and between 1985 and 1990, an additional five states initiated statewide studenttesting programs, bringing the number of such programs to 47.
During the 1970s and 1980s, the number of different subjects and skills tested has also consistently increased, with additional attention devoted to how assessments are executed. Moreover, during this period, organizations, such as the National Assessment of Educational Progress, intensified and expanded the scope of their assessment procedures as well as publicized the results of their findings nationally and annually.
By the end of 1989, the public recognized the significance of national educational assessments. In the Phi Delta Kappan-Gallup poll reported in the September issue of Phi Delta Kappan, 77 percent of the respondents favored "requiring the public schools in this community to use standardized national testing programs to measure academic achievement of students" and 70 percent favored "requiring the public schools in this community to conform to national achievement standards and goals."
Likewise, towards the end of the 1980s, colleges and universities began to realize that formal assessment issues were to affect them. For example, in its 1989-1990Criteria for Accreditation