The Intellectual Prices of Secrecy in Mathematics Assessment
Judah L. Schwartz
Editors' Note: So far in this book, the authors have focused on examples and descriptions intended to clarify substantive issues influencing the nature of appropriate alternatives to traditional forms of assessment. These issues have dealt with assumptions about the nature of mathematics, of real- life problem solving, or of exemplary mathematics learning and instruction. However, the instructional impact of assessment is also strongly influenced by policy decisions that seem to have nothing to do with assumptions about mathematics, problem solving, or teaching and learning. For example, this chapter summarizes conclusions that were reached by a number of leading scholars and educators about the impact of secrecy, as reported in The Social, Intellectual, and Psychological Costs of Current Assessment Practices ( Schwartz and Viator, 1990).
This project, funded by the Ford Foundation, identified a number of policy issues that tend to have particularly negative effects on assessment reform, and among these issues, secrecy in assessment emerged as particularly important. Other issues that were given special attention included equity ( Hilliard, Willie), legal and economic issues ( Heubert, Barryman), issues in science education and language arts education ( Raizen, Chomsky), and issues involving the development of individual students and teachers ( Wiggins, Stage, Perrone).
Even though this book has examined assessment mainly from the perspective of people whose main areas of expertise hate to do with learning and instruction in mathematics, it is fitting that "close by considering ways that substantive issues in mathematics instruction influence (and are influenced by) a larger context which