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Early Childhood Assessment MS Word PDF - This ECS Issue Brief addresses the issues policymakers need to consider before assessing young children (birth to kindergarten) to evaluate the effectiveness of early learning programs. (Jessica McMaken, Education Commission of the States, March 2003)...

Instructional and Assessment Systems of Successful Schools MS Word - This paper examines systems of educational assessment and supporting policies and actions that highly effective schools have created and implemented. Schools that have been identified as “in need of improvement” by the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) could use such methods at the school and classroom levels to achieve comparable success. (Edward Roeber, Education Commission of the States, July 2003)...

A Guide to Standards-Based Assessment PDF - This No Child Left Behind issue brief discusses standards-based asssessments -- their role in education reform; how they differ from other tests; and the challenges they pose to state leaders and educators. (Education Commission of the States, May 2002)...

Big Testing and Small Schools MS Word - Concerns about the effects of large-scale accountability assessments – Big Testing – on small high schools are described in this briefing paper from the National Forum on Accountability. An alternative accountability model based on the primary characteristics and capacities of successful small high schools is proposed. (Rexford Brown, Education Commission of the States, May 2002)...

Rethinking and Redesigning Education Assessment MS Word - Assessment is playing a greater role in decisionmaking than ever before. In turn, education stakeholders are questioning whether current large-scale assessment practices are yielding the most useful kinds of information for informing and improving education. (James W. Pellegrino, Vanderbilt University, April 2001)...

The Progress of Education Reform 1999-2001: Assessment MS Word PDF - Looks at what we know and don't know about assessments, and using the right test. (Sherry Freeland Walker, The Progress of Education Reform, Education Commission of the States, vol. 1, no. 6, March-April 2000)...

A Policymaker’s Guide to Standards-Led Assessment MS Word - Assessments play a pivotal role in standards-led reform by (1) communicating the goals that school systems, schools, teachers and students are expected to achieve; (2) providing targets for teaching and learning and (3) shaping the performance of educators and students. Coupled with appropriate incentives and/or sanctions – external or self-directed – assessments can motivate students to learn better, teachers to teach better, and schools to be more educationally effective. This guide is issued jointly by the Education Commission of the States and the National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing. (Robert L. Linn and Joan L. Herman, ECS and NCRESST, February 1997)...

Lessons Learned About Testing: Ten Years of Work at the National Research Council - The Council's Board on Testing and Assessment has released this report detailing recurring themes that are geared toward helping policymakers in education who use large-scale tests. The themes, or lessons, of the report are broken into four main categories: uses, design, consequences and public understanding. (National Resource Council, July 2007)...

Developing Assessments To Inform Teaching and Learning - While the usefulness of assessments for facilitating thinking, reasoning and problem-solving is well-documented, the means to create informative yet practical assessments for classroom use is less obvious. This report considers principles of informative assessments that improve teaching and learning by communicating learning goals, interpreting student performance, tracking progress over time and suggesting appropriate corrective actions. For readers who are deeply engrossed in assessment design. (Kristin M. Bass and Robert Glaser, Center for the Study of Evaluation, National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards and Student Testing, May 2004)...

Unfinished Business: More Measured Approaches in Standards-Based Reform - This report considers six areas essential to valid student assessment: (1) the alignment of tests with state content standards, the actual curriculum in the classrooms with the content standards, and the test with what is actually taught; (2) the methods for and challenges in setting test score cutpoints; (3) accountability systems based on student score gains rather than student score levels; (4) teaching to the test; (5) using assessments to inform instruction; and (6) the impact of exit exams on student completion rates. (Paul E. Barton, Educational Testing Service, December 2004)...

Errors in Standardized Tests: A Systemic Problem - This report examines non-random human error in educational testing. The authors argue that these types of errors should be of greater concern than random measurement errors because they do not occur randomly and they bring unseen consequences. (Kathleen Rhoades and George Madaus, National Board on Educational Testing and Public Policy, May 2003)...

On the Structure of Educational Assessments - This paper describes a framework for assessment that highlights the interrelationships among substantive arguments, assessment designs and operational processes. This framework can be applied to analyzing existing assessments or designing new assessments. (Robert J. Mislevy, Center for the Study of Evaluation, National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing, May 2003)...

Testing the Testers 2003: An Annual Ranking of State Accountability Systems - This review of state accountability systems ranks states according to four criteria: alignment of high-stakes tests to content knowledge, test quality, openness of testing policies and procedures, and the ability of the system to affect education in ways consistent with state goals. An executive summary is provided, as well as access to the full report, state data and state-by-state rankings. (The Princeton Review, 2003) ...

The Impact of High-stakes Accountability on Teachers’ Professional Development: Evidence from the South - The researchers set out to find qualitative answers to three questions: (1) How do different state accountability systems affect teachers’ responses to their own professional development? (2) How do teachers from schools with different accountability ratings respond to their own professional development? (3) How do schools and districts mediate high-stakes accountability, professional development and student achievement? They found that the general quality of professional development was improving with the increasing stakes of accountability systems. They also discovered schools and districts responding to the demands of high-stakes accountability, professional development and student achievement with a variety of solutions, both well- and ill-considered. (Barnett Berry, Laura Turchi and Dylan Johnson, The Southeast Center for Teaching Quality, Inc.; and Dwight Hare and Deborah Duncan Owens, Mississippi State University, and Steve Clements, Kentucky Professional Standards Board, November 2003)...

Title I: Characteristics of Tests Will Influence Expenses; Information Sharing May Help States Realize Efficiencies - According to this report from the General Accounting Office (GAO), over the next six years states could spend $1.9-$5.3 billion implementing No Child Left Behind testing requirements. Spending at the lower level would entail all states relying on machine-scored, multiple-choice tests. The report estimates that under the current mix of tests used by states, costs would be close to $4 billion. (GAO, May 2003)...

Models for Alignment Analysis and Assistance to States - The Council of Chief State School Officers has assembled a summary designed to help states align student assessments with academic content standards. The summary identifies four alignment models for states to consider. (Council of Chief State School Officers, September 2002) ...

Staying on Course – Standards-Based Reform in America’s Schools: Progress and Prospects - There is no doubt the American public supports common academic standards for students, measuring results, and holding schools and students accountable for performance. This support, however, will dissipate if tests become viewed as instruments to criticize rather than help schools and students excel. (Achieve, Inc., 2002)...

Staying on Course in Education Reform - This report reviews the use of standardized testing in elementary and secondary education in the context of standards-based education reform. The author suggests that more attention be focused on the quality of testing and developing a rigorous curriculum. (Paul E. Barton, Educational Testing Service, April 2002)...

Putting Tests to the Test, Project 2061 - This newsletter from Project 2061 analyzes assessment tasks for their alignment to standards. New strategies and tools for evaluating the alignment of K-12 assessments in science and mathematics to national, state and district standards and benchmarks are discussed. The newsletter brings readers up to date on the project’s efforts, products and accomplishments. (American Association for the Advancement of Science, Spring/Summer 2001)...

Measuring What Matters - This report hails testing and accountability as fundamental to improving student learning. The result of more than a year of research, the report calls tests that are valid, reliable and fair the best means of charting the country’s progress toward the goal of improved academic achievement. It applauds the efforts under way in virtually every state to specify academic standards and measure student learning. The report, however, offers a word of caution: tests are a means, not an end, to school reform. More work must be done to ensure that tests are good measures of learning. (Committee for Economic Development, December 2000)...

Thinking about Tests and Testing: A Short Primer in "Assessment Literacy" - This easy-to-use resource guide is designed for persons not entirely confident about all the scientific-sounding terms and acronyms that go along with student assessment discussions. Researchers and policymakers should find the glossary of assessment terms helpful. (Gerald Bracey, published by American Youth Policy Forum in cooperation with the National Conference of State Legislatures, 2000)...

Too Much Testing of the Wrong Kind; Too Little of the Right Kind in K-12 Education - This report reviews the development of K-12 standardized testing, the emerging role of testing in the standard-based reform movement, testing and school accountability, the proposal for a Voluntary National Test and the case for high school exit examinations. Several promising testing practices are also discussed. (Paul E. Barton, Educational Testing Service, March 1999)...

From Authentic Assessment to Authentic Accountability and An Accountability Event for Assessing and Directing the Performance of Public Education Institutions MS Word - Two articles reprinted with permission. (1) A view of accountability that derives much from the business community and its demonstrated success in applying continuous improvement approaches to evaluate and refine processes. It is also consonant with standards-based reform and the powerful forces toward democratic localism (charter schools, site-based management, restructuring, etc.) that are being explored throughout the education system. (2) A model to engage the public in a process that seeks to develop deep understandings of the performance of the school system, its causes and antecedents, so that a constructive course for improvement can be determined and undertaken and ultimately assessed. (Paul G. LeMahieu and Marina A. Piscolish, University of Delaware and Delaware Department of Instruction, September 1996)...


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