ERIC Number: EJ900614
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Sep-15
Reference Count: N/A
U.S. Tests Awaiting Big Shifts
Gewertz, Catherine; Robelen, Erik W.
Education Week, v30 n3 p1, 18-19 Sep 2010
In a move that could reshape academic assessment in nearly every corner of the country, the U.S. Department of Education has awarded $330 million in grants to collaboratives of states to design better ways of measuring student learning. The grants, awarded Sept. 2, went to two groups of states that sought the money under the federal Race to the Top program, spawned last year by the federal economic-stimulus law. In a speech announcing the winners, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan lauded the competition for its potential to be a transformative force in education by giving teachers immediate, meaningful feedback on students' understanding and leaving "bubble tests" behind to measure a more complex range of student skills. The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC, which consists of 26 states, won $170 million. The SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium, or SBAC, which includes 31 states, won $160 million. Analysts have noted that the two winning groups' plans have much in common. Both say they would combine the results from performance-based tasks administered throughout the academic year with a more traditional end-of-the-year measure for school accountability purposes. Both seek to reflect not simply students' skill at factual recall, but also their strength at analyzing material and applying their knowledge. Observers caution that many challenges remain as the winning consortia begin the complex work of turning ideas into new assessment systems. The consortia will grapple, too, with the tension inherent in trying to use one assessment for multiple purposes, observers say.
Descriptors: Feedback (Response), Evaluation, Partnerships in Education, Consortia, Accountability, Grants, Academic Achievement, Elementary Secondary Education, Federal Legislation, Test Construction, Tests, Teacher Effectiveness, Public Agencies, Federal Government, Education
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United States
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Elementary and Secondary Education Act