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ERIC Number: EJ909943
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0148-432X
Testing What Has Been Taught: Helpful, High-Quality Assessments Start with a Strong Curriculum
Hamilton, Laura S.
American Educator, v34 n4 p47-52 Win 2010-2011
In recent years, standardized, large-scale tests of student achievement have been given a central role in federal, state, and local efforts to improve K-12 education. Despite the widespread enthusiasm for assessment-based reforms, many of the current and proposed uses of large-scale assessments are based on unverified assumptions about the extent to which they will actually lead to improved teaching and learning, and insufficient attention has been paid to the characteristics of assessment programs that are likely to promote desired outcomes. In light of the recently developed Common Core State Standards and the ongoing work to develop assessments aligned to those standards, now is a good time to pause and consider the state and federal assessment policies. If one is to actually improve schools, researchers and policymakers must address a few essential questions: How many purposes can one assessment serve? Can assessments meaningfully be aligned to standards, or is something more detailed, like a curriculum, necessary to guide both teachers and assessment developers? What would the key features of an assessment system designed to increase student learning and improve instruction be? While current assessment knowledge is not sufficient to fully answer these questions, in this article the author offers an overview of what is known and several suggestions for improving one's approach to assessment. (Contains 17 endnotes.)
American Federation of Teachers. 555 New Jersey Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20001. Tel: 202-879-4400; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A