Education Week’s site has another piece on the future of education, this one on assessements:
Led by Stanford University professor Linda Darling-Hammond, a panel of experts outlined a comprehensive system that includes summative and formative tests of higher-order thinking skills, reflecting a marketplace that they say places increasing value on such skills.
They urged a move away from of multiple-choice tests that demand factual recall, toward the development of a set of deeper, more analytical questions, tasks, and projects that ask students to solve and discuss complex problems.
Such assessments, Ms. Darling-Hammond said, can be “of, for, and as learning.” They can “embody” content standards, she said, not just approximate them. Because teachers would help create and score the assessments, and the assessments would be pegged to good-quality content standards, an aligned teaching-and-learning system would take shape that would help teachers adjust instruction in real time and help district and state administrators plot longer-term education strategy, the experts said.
I was along with what I was reading as a recognition of the limits of tests and respect for learning styles. But, when I got to, “assessments would be pegged to good-quality content standards” the warning bells went off and I immediately cooled to the idea.
The portrait of assessment, fleshed out in a paper by Ms. Darling-Hammond that draws on assessment practices in the United States and abroad, was presented at a discussion organized by two Washington-based groups, the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers. They have enlisted the support of 48 states to devise common content standards designed to ensure college and career readiness.
From the paper cited, Assessment Systems that Support High-Quality Learning:
Over a number of years, CCSSO [Council of Chief State School Officers] has been working with key stakeholders to develop a set of principles for student assessment systems. These principles suggest that the student assessment process should be considered as a system that supports a variety of purposes, such as informing learning and instruction, determining progress, measuring achievement, and providing partial accountability information.
I do not intend to try and unpack Ms. Darling-Hammond’s paper. However, with what seems to be an underlying deference for “key stakeholders” and a blinding lack of respect for kids and families, I am concerned that “content standards” is a pandora’s box in waiting.
Read the EdWeek piece here.