ERIC Number: ED335421
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1989-Oct
Reference Count: N/A
Tests as Standards of Achievement in Schools.
Resnick, Lauren B.; Resnick, Daniel P.
The question of whether tests can be both curriculum-neutral and effective means of monitoring and motivating educational practice is discussed. Educational reform and testing are intimately linked, as tests are widely viewed as a means of educational improvement. Tests/assessments influence educator behavior by stimulating them to assure that their students perform well. Tests/assessments used for public accountability or program evaluation purposes affect the curriculum. A new vision of education--a thinking-oriented curriculum (TC) for all students--is considered, in which education focuses on higher-order abilities, problem solving and thinking, and the ability to go beyond the routine and exercise personal judgment. Current tests that are inimical to a TC are discussed. To assess the extent to which decomposition and decontextualization--two key assumptions underlying standardized testing--permeate today's achievement tests, reading comprehension, language, and mathematics test batteries that are widely used in educational assessment are analyzed. Standardized tests fare badly when judged against the criterion of assessing and promoting a TC. They embody a view of education that defines knowledge and skill as a collection of bits of information and they demand fast non-reflective replies. Alternative performance assessments for a TC, including open-ended writing examinations (essays) and portfolio assessments, help release educators from the pressure toward fractionated low-level forms of learning that are rewarded by most current tests, and they also set positive standards for an educational system that strives to cultivate thinking. Tied to curriculum and designed to be taught to, performance assessments can be essential tools for raising authentic educational achievement. A 25-item list of references is included. (RLC)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Center for Technology in Education, New York, NY.