New Assessment Thinking I

New Assessment Thinking I -

In the history of American education, there have been several movements and frameworks  in what we consider important assessment practices.

Clearly, in our earliest history education was designed for wealthy elite males who attended school for the purpose of becoming a lawyer or a preacher. Universal public education really only began with Horace Mann. In the early 19th-century, American education was designed as a factory to fit people into places where they could work, and pay taxes.

That factory model has lasted for a long time.  All too often we think that everyone should be educated in the same way because we seek to produce the same kind of product.  We engage students in the same kind of testing and assessment because we want to be sure they all “measure up,” that they are all the same.  

On the other hand, we know that no one is the same, that all students need individualized approaches, and that the idea of universal educational homogeneity is a false promise.  

The idea of incorporating portfolio based educational assessment alongside test based assessment would allow students to excel in areas of interest.  Students could be assessed not just on how they meet content requirements but also in how they comprehend and solve problems, especially problems they have chosen as relevant.

It’s time for the next big shift in educational assessment - a movement toward relevant, real, and meaningful assessment practices through portfolio assessment.


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