2011 Testing and Assessment Archive
Does High-Stakes Testing Mean High-Stakes Cheating?
A report commissioned by the Georgia Governor’s Office of Special Investigators provided painstaking detail of what many had long suspected: Atlanta Public Schools testing gains were too good to be true. There was evidence of test collusion at 44 of the district’s 100 schools. Adults, not students, were the perpetrators.
How to Handle Cheating
What should school boards do to preserve the academic integrity of their educational programs? What roles should parents and the community play in examining this issue? In one suburban district, the board appointed an ad hoc committee, led by the superintendent and made up of community members, to examine the cheating problem.
Using Research Right
Research rarely speaks with one voice, and conflicts are the norm rather than the exception. Looking more specifically at the studies might illuminate differences, but simply referring to “the research” does not inform the decision-making process. School board members serve an important function here by learning how to ask good questions.
Improving Instruction With Technology
Technology is altering the landscape of student testing, in much the same way that student testing altered public education decades ago. Test developers and researchers have moved beyond using technology to process information into the deeper but trickier mission of figuring out what a student knows and how to improve instruction.
Getting Ready for Common Standards
Here are five essential actions for every school district planning to implement the Common Core: 1. Find common ground. 2. Require more informational writing of students. 3. Prioritize the standards that have the greatest impact on student learning. 4. Implement formative assessments at the district level. 5. Use the standards as a floor, not a ceiling.
What about soft skills?
American education has always understood two truths: 1. Albert Einstein’s maxim, “Everything that can be counted does not always count, and everything that counts cannot be counted.” 2. We cannot expect every student to learn the exact same thing in the exact same way in the exact same amount of time. Knowing these things, it is amazing that our government leaders want a national curriculum based on national standards.
Are Common Standards Coming to Your State?
In just three years, all but perhaps a handful of states are expected to have a common standard and assessment system. These standards are designed to enable all high school students to succeed in postsecondary education and the workplace. It is the nation’s first real attempt at establishing common standards, and it is happening very quickly.