An Opportunity to Improve Assessment Systems

posted in: Assessment, Reform | 0

Linda Darling-Hammond writes about the possibilities for better assessment based on the new Common Core Standards:

“Because the CCSS are intended to be “fewer, higher, and deeper” than previous standards, they have created a natural opening for the development and adoption of better assessments of student learning. The assessments developed by two new multi-state consortia could move us toward more informative systems that include formative as well as summative elements, evaluate content that reflects instruction, and include some challenging open-ended tasks” (TESTING TO, AND BEYOND, THE COMMON CORE; New assessments can support a multiple-measure framework to deepen teaching and learning. By Linda Darling-Hammond; Principal, January/February 2014).

The reform of testing is an ongoing business. Year after year the testing companies have refined their product. But there is a real need for changing the purpose to which these assessments are always tasked with, accountability. This accountability is narrowly defined and heavily sanctioned when schools fall behind. After 10 years of NCLB most schools have been deemed as falling behind or otherwise not making the grade. Why would we think this narrow accountability definition for standardized tests is helping anyone? It isn’t. So Darling-Hammond’s hope for better assessments that are improved by teachers and principals is welcome news: