Richard Lesh and Susan J. Lamon
Today, there are strong pressures to move away from traditional multiple-choice or short-answer tests, toward alternative forms of assessment that focus on "real-life" situations, "authentic" mathematics, and "performance" activities. However, in spite of the fact that organizations such as the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics have made significant progress in reaching a national consensus on curriculum and evaluation standards for school mathematics ( NCTM, 1989), what we want to move away from is clearer than what we want to move toward in assessment reform. For example, in the first sentence of this paragraph, each of the words in quotation marks tends to be a subject of debate among mathematics educators.
What is meant by real-life situations? or authentic mathematics? or performance activities? The main purpose of this book is to address these kinds of questions in a form that is relevant to priority decision-making issues that arise during the construction of new modes of assessment. Authors in this book were chosen partly because of the leadership roles they have played in reform efforts aimed at high-stakes testing programs in the United States, Great Britain, and the Netherlands. But they were also selected because of their interests and experience in developing materials that contribute to both instruction and assessment in the classroom.