ERIC Number: ED397133
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1996-Apr
Reference Count: N/A
The Rise, Fall and Rise of State Assessment in California, 1993-1996.
Kirst, Michael W.; Mazzeo, Christopher
California was a pioneer in new forms of student assessment through a system entitled the "California Learning Assessment System" (CLAS). For different reasons, several interest groups objected to the CLAS, which has been discontinued. The history of the CLAS program sheds light on the future of testing policy in California and perhaps in the nation. CLAS was developed to align the California testing system to the curriculum, to measure attainment of curriculum, and to provide assessment of individual student achievement. Controversy arose with the first round of testing, with conservative groups objecting to the test's content. Attempts to address the controversy only fueled the public relations nightmare the testing system had become. Sampling and statistical concerns were raised by educators who were concerned with the CLAS performance assessment components. Three dimensions of the CLAS case stand out as lessons for testing policy in general: (1) the tension between political and technical factors; (2) the divergent priorities and goals of key stakeholders; and (3) the extent of antigovernment feelings among the public. State assessments contain issues that are high-stakes politics. The experience of California suggests that an elite professional alliance cannot both set the agenda for reform and persuade the public that their agenda is best. (SLD)
Descriptors: Curriculum, Educational Assessment, Educational History, Educational Innovation, Educational Policy, Educational Trends, Elementary Secondary Education, Performance Based Assessment, Political Influences, Public Relations, Stakeholders, State Programs, Test Use, Testing Programs, Trend Analysis
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Consortium for Policy Research in Education and Policy Analysis for California Education.
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: California; California Learning Assessment System
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (New York, NY, April 8-12, 1996).