Contemporary Assessments for Innovative Schools

 

Educators and policymakers have a unique relationship – they share responsibility for shaping learning systems and preparing students for an interconnected and ever-changing world. We often think of teachers and administrators on one side and legislators on the other in a virtual tug-of-war, each side firmly planted in ideologies that inform programs and regulations. On the contrary, diversity of thought exists among teachers, administrators, superintendents, unions, governors, legislators, taxpayers, parents and students. And in fact, we’re all in this together.

 

Accountability and assessment methods emerge as the single most contentious policy topic. While policymakers have the extraordinary task of making decisions that impact all aspects of education, faculty struggle with administering programs that are meaningful, effective and result in satisfactory test results.

Accountability and assessment methods emerge as the single most contentious policy topic. While policymakers have the extraordinary task of making decisions that impact all aspects of education, faculty struggle with administering programs that are meaningful, effective and result in satisfactory test results.
 
Today, standardized tests are the primary measure of school accountability. They are a driving force in decisions related to budgets, curriculum, scheduling, and career advancement for educators. Standardized testing impacts schooling to a degree much greater than its original intent.
 
Reliable mechanisms for bench-marking program quality and student outcomes is essential to the improvement of curriculum and instructional practices. “Assessment for learning will ultimately lead to more meaningful summative assessment – assessment of learning”. (Bold Moves, Page 174) Standardized testing has its place in education, however, it is insufficient and has the potential for far-reaching unintended consequences.

 

We believe that assessment tools should measure and reflect the skills and habits of mind that are valued and necessary to thrive in a global society. Accountability should be tied to a mission that exceeds student memorization of processes and ideas, and it should include an understanding of desirable dispositions and capacities for contemporary learners.

 

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