As the nation embraces the goal of graduating all students college and career ready, there is a growing movement to realign standards, assessments, and accountability systems to that goal. Meaningful Measurement: The Role of Assessments in Improving High School Education in the Twenty-First Century, is a collection of essays, written by leading experts, that discuss important assessment issues, examines promising assessment practices from across the globe, and offers recommendations on how the federal government can support an assessment agenda for the twenty-first century. Topics include assessments that measure students’ college and career readiness; performance assessments; the role of benchmark assessments; assessing high school students who are English language learners and students with disabilities; the benefits of international assessments; the role of technology in improving assessments and their use; and how assessment design affects the implementation of a growth model at the high school level.
Chapter 1: College and Work Readiness as a Goal of High Schools: The Role of Standards, Assessments, and Accountability
John Tanner of the Center for Innovative Measures at the Council of Chief State School Officers establishes why, in the twenty-first century, the nation needs standards, assessments, and accountability systems aligned to college and career readiness, and offers recommendations for federal policymakers to support such efforts.
Chapter 2: Reframing Accountability: Using Performance Assessments to Focus Learning on Higher-Order Skills
Linda Darling-Hammond and Ray Pecheone of the School Redesign Network at Stanford University discuss how performance assessments can help evaluate students’ ability to apply their knowledge and encourage teaching and learning of higher-order skills. They describe what performance assessments are and how they can benefit instruction, how they are being used to support policy goals in the United States and abroad, the major challenges and considerations that must be addressed to use performance assessments well, and how federal policy can support the development and implementation of high-quality assessments that both support and evaluate more complex knowledge and skills.
Chapter 3: Formative Assessment and Assessment for Learning
Jan Chappuis, Stephen Chappuis, and Richard Stiggins of the ETS Assessment Training Institute describe the characteristics of formative assessment, with a particular focus on those formative assessment practices that engage and empower students in their own learning, or assessments for learning. They also describe challenges related to the effective use of formative assessment and recommended actions for policymakers.
Chapter 4: The Role of Interim Assessments in a Comprehensive Assessment System
Judy Wurtzel, formerly of the Aspen Institute, and Marianne Perie, Scott Marion, and Brian Gong of the National Center for the Improvement of Education Assessment, differentiate between true classroom formative assessment and the interim assessments currently in the marketplace. They then provide a framework for considering the appropriate role of interim assessments.
Chapter 5: International Assessments of Student Learning Outcomes
Andreas Schleicher of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development provides a brief introduction of the history of international assessments and describes the potential benefits of international assessments for educational policy and practice. He discusses some of the methodological challenges faced in providing valid, comparable, and reliable evidence, and offers recommendations to U.S. policymakers.
Chapter 6: Measuring Student Achievement Growth at the High School Level
Joseph Martineau of the Michigan Department of Education explains the technical underpinnings of growth models, describes the various types of growth models, articulates challenges inherent to measuring growth at the high school level, and explores implications for policymakers interested in moving toward the widespread use of growth models.
Chapter 7: Assessing High School English Language Learners
Jamal Abedi of the University of California at Davis describes the challenges inherent in assessing the English proficiency and content knowledge of the diverse high school English language learner (ELL) population and offers recommendations
to federal policymakers for creating reliable, valid, and accessible assessments for ELL students.
Chapter 8: Students with Disabilities: Expectations, Academic Achievement, and the Critical Role of Inclusive Standards-Based Assessments in Improving Outcomes
Rachel Quenemoen of the National Center on Educational Outcomes describes issues concerning the assessment of high school students with disabilities in a standards-based accountability system, ways to evaluate assessments that are inclusive of all students in the accountability system, and recommendations for policymakers.
Chapter 9: Assessments and Technology: A Powerful Combination for Improving Teaching and Learning
Erin Martin Gohl, Daniel Gohl, and Mary Ann Wolf of the State Educational Technology Directors Association describe how the use of technology to assess students and to record and analyze performance can result in timely, appropriate, and individualized instruction for all students. They highlight some of the innovative approaches in using technology to assess student progress, address current challenges in the use of technology, and provide recommendations to federal policymakers to overcome those challenges.
April 14, 2009 event
There is increasing attention being paid to the “next generation” of assessments and what that might mean for federal policy and the reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). The Alliance’s April 14 conference explored key issues related to both the development and use of assessments, as well as federal policy implications. Issues included the development of college- and work-ready assessments, the use of formative assessments, the assessment of English language learners and students with disabilities, the use of assessments for growth models at the high school level, U.S. participation in and use of international assessments, and the role of technology in improving assessments.