Tuesday, November 3, 2009

High Stakes Testing vs. Authentic Assessment

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See also  Race to the Top Competition | Authentic Assessment (internal links)

High stakes testing is a fundamental element of  School Reform, and is the primary instrument states use to fulfill the NCLB requirement for 'accountability.'

The Case Against High Stakes Testing
  • Board of Testing and Assessment (BOTA) A prestigious panel of national experts convened by the National Academy of Science.   Oct 2, 2009 Letter form BOTA to The Honorable Arne Duncan.  This letter expresses strong reservations about the use of standardized tests for high stakes decision making.
  •  http\\ ~The Case Against High Stakes Testing~  (FairTest.org) "The materials selected for this page make the case against relying on test scores to make critical educational decisions about students or schools - or what is called high stakes testing. Common examples include retaining a child in grade or withholding a students high-school diploma solely on the basis their score on a test, or relying on test scores to determine whether a teacher or school should be sanctioned or rewarded. "
  • The Need for a Moratorium on High-stakes Testing by David C. Berliner on September 14, 2009  http://www.hepg.org/blog/24 "...I hope that the Obama administration learns that there are alternative accountability systems that could work and are cheaper to administer. It is time to admit our nation got it wrong and must start over."
  • http://www.rand.org/pubs/monographs/2007/RAND_MG589.pdf "Teachers noted ..efforts to align instruction with standards and efforts to improve their own practices... narrowing of curriculum and instruction toward tested topics and even toward certain problem styles or formats. Teachers also reported focusing more on students near the proficient cut score (i.e., “bubble kids”) and expressed concerns about negative effects of the accountability requirements on the learning opportunities given to high-achieving students....[Teachers and principals noted and effect of] declining staff morale.

  • New York Times, 10/15/09 (external link)  (internal link)  The passage rate of New York students on the state exam is much higher than their passage rate on a national test, suggesting that the state test is inordinately easy.  This finding throws into question the significance of a recent report by Hoxby et al. (Sept. 2009).  The Hoxby student showed that students at charter schools in New York City outperformed their peers in non-charter public schools. Most of the data in the study pertained to elementary school. 

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