Unit One: The need for assessment to evolve



State assessment

Teachers will be able to understand the necessity for evolvement in assessment.

Teachers will be able to form an educated response about assessment.

Grey arrow.gif Assessment needs to evolve at the same rate education does. Early on it was decided that “assessments were needed that could detect individual differences in achievement among students” (Stiggens, p. 265). This was decided at about the time that “a new kind of test appeared on the scene that appeared to answer our every need: the objective paper and pencil test. It was seen as fair because all students had the same opportunity to perform. If necessary, it could be mass-produced, administered efficiently to a few students or to many, and scored very quickly at a very low cost. It produced comparable results that appeared to be easily interpretable in terms of score differences across individuals, classrooms, and schools. While the pencil and paper assessment hasn’t been completely phased out, the types of assessments being done are constantly evolving” (Stiggens, p. 265). This seemed to be the ideal situation. Not only was this cost effective for schools, but now comparisons could be made and necessary improvements could also be made if necessary.

Read this! NCLB is working.

Grey arrow.gif Teachers were no longer responsible for just teaching procedures, but for the outcomes as well. “Throughout this time of emerging interest in educational accountability, the index of success in attaining outcomes has been scores on standardized tests” (Stiggens, p. 267). Standardized tests became the ideal way to determine whether students were learning the appropriate content and compare results against other schools all over the country. There has been a fundamental change in the way assessment is viewed and conducted in our schools. Over the past couple of decades, the issue of effective assessment has created controversy between many in the education system. Measuring assessment is not as simple as a pencil and paper test. What do the students need to know to be successful in today’s society?

Grey arrow.gif With the ever-changing society, assessing student knowledge has had to change. “The majority of the educational outcomes we value for students cannot be translated into objective paper and pencil test items” (Stiggens, p. 267). There have been several influences from society that have resulted in this need for change in the way assessment is done. With a more diverse learning population, it is necessary to use a variety of instructional and assessment strategies to meet the needs of the different learning styles. Also, the constructivist learning style has become a widely held theory by many in the education field. Students take responsibility for their learning and learn from a variety of ways including active participation. The constructivist approach focuses on concept development, deep understanding and construction of active learner reorganization (Anderson, p. 6-7). For these reasons, and more, new alternative assessment has been necessary in the classroom.

Read this! High Stakes Testing


The No Child Left Behind Act was introduced in 2001 to increase productivity and test scores in schools around the United States, but it also created what we know as high-stakes testing. Fairtest.org and the government website for education present the disadvantages and the benefits of high-stakes testing. Form an educated opinion about high stakes testing using the two websites. Record your thoughts to the following questions: Is it beneficial to continue high stakes testing in the United States? Does high stakes testing meet the needs of our students?

On to the next unit: Unit Two

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