ERIC Number: ED348400
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991
Toward One System of Education: Assessing To Improve, Not Merely Audit. State Policy and Assessment in Higher Education. ESC Working Paper.
Assessments should improve performance by providing usable feedback, and should not merely audit it. Problems with educational accountability policies stem from a flawed view of student assessment. Intellectual excellence cannot be obtained via one-time mandated tests composed of proxies for real challenges. Common standards should be developed for use in evaluating local standards and measures, not common tests. A more performance-based accreditation process is proposed, with policies that induce schools and colleges to explicitly benchmark local work, chart progress over time, and give incentives for meeting high performance standards. Authentic educational tests simulate problems of knowledge use found in professions and after formal education. Assessments must teach students that tasks, criteria, and standards found in schools and colleges are appropriate for all rational inquiry and fruitful intellectual life. Assessments with flexible and context-sensitive opportunities reveal student expertise. Two vignettes for focusing policy reform and 10 guidelines for developing a consistent system of assessment are given. Outcome-based education and site-based decision making ensure that all local testing from kindergarten through graduate school (K-GS) involves the worthiest tasks and best exit-level challenges, and adapts to all grades. A seamless K-12-graduate school system includes: authentic tasks and standards linking different system stages that are known to all students and teachers at lower levels and recur throughout their work; and authentic standards and measures that are thoroughly explained, taught, and practiced with constant opportunity for revision and improvement so that schools and students are genuinely culpable for substandard performance. The appendixes provide guidance about assessment practice from various sources in terms of general principles and recommendations, specific suggestions, scoring scales for writing activities, literacy profiles (reading), and "work requirements" in literature study and chemistry. (35 references) (RLC)
Descriptors: Academic Standards, Accountability, Accreditation (Institutions), Alternative Assessment, Educational Assessment, Educational Change, Educational Policy, Elementary Secondary Education, Evaluation Methods, Guidelines, Higher Education, Performance Based Assessment, Policy Formation, Standardized Tests, Systems Development, Testing Problems
Distribution Center, Education Commission of the States, 707 17th Street, Suite 2700, Denver, CO 80202-3427 (Order No. PA-91-2; $6 plus postage and handling charges).
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Education Commission of the States, Denver, CO.