Future Directions for Mathematics Assessment
Richard Lesh, Susan J. Lamon, Merlyn Behr, and Frank Lester
This chapter consists of three parts. The first part examines the assumptions underlying traditional types of standardized testing compared with assumptions underlying innovative types of performance assessment. The second part focuses on directions for the future; and, in particular, it focuses on three pervasive themes that shaped the perspectives of most of the chapters in this book, even though they are themes that were addressed only indirectly. These themes are equity, technology, and teacher education. The third part gives examples from three closely related projects which were designed to find practical ways to implement recommendations that were made in other chapters of this book. All three projects emphasize performance assessment activities that focus on: (i) deeper and higher-order understandings of elementary mathematics, (ii) realistic problem-solving situations, and (iii) diverse types of mathematical abilities.
The table that follows summarizes some of the most important differences between traditional standardized tests and the kind of performance assessment activities that were emphasized throughout this book. For example, in general, traditional types of standardized tests have served the information needs of only a narrow range of decision makers and decision-making issues; and, they have tended to be based on exceedingly outdated conceptions of