A group of high-powered policymakers and educators led by Stanford University professor Linda Darling-Hammond, outlined a comprehensive assessment 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. One example is a problem that has been posed to Connecticut high school students: Figure out how to build a statue that could withstand the effects of acid rain, then describe, analyze, and discuss your findings.The white paper describes what a student assessment system could look like if built from the principles and best practices found in current educational research and effective educational systems in the U.S. and high-achieving nations around the world.
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...
With this paper, the Council of Chief State School Officers seeks to illuminate and enrich the discussion around comprehensive systems of student assessment and to help lead the development of more effective ways to assess student learning. It describes existing successful assessment systems that use a variety of ways to ensure student achievement in programs in our country and in high-achieving countries around the world.