As employers and postsecondary institutions increasingly demand students and workers equipped with high-level skills, many states are exploring performance assessments as part of their K-12 education strategies. Unlike multiple-choice tests, these assessments require students to construct answers, produce products, or perform activities; they allow educators to assess student performance meaningfully and foster deeper learning.
In Performance Assessments: How State Policy Can Advance Assessments for 21st Century Learning, Stanford University Professor and SCOPE Faculty Director Linda Darling-Hammond and NASBE Deeper Learning Project Director Ace Parsi argue that focusing on assessments is essential for facilitating meaningful learning that leads to state educational agency success and helps policymakers address some of the thorniest issues around them: purpose, sustainability, reliability, accountability, policy alignment, equity, professional practice, and implementation. The paper includes key considerations for state policymakers as they assess whether their states are getting the maximum benefits from the adoption of performance assessment strategies.
“Transforming a state assessment and accountability strategy to support and advance the knowledge, skills, and dispositions that are essential to students’ college, career, and civic success is not an easy task for any state,” says Darling-Hammond.
“New strategies will require a commitment to funding new systems, training educators, and collecting and analyzing the information that performance assessments provide to continuously improve state education systems,” adds Parsi. “While this commitment will require funding, the costs are dwarfed by the substantial costs of inaction: poorly trained educators, continued and persistent opportunity gaps, and most important, a system that is misaligned to the goal of enabling all students to seize opportunities the 21st century provides. Luckily, many states have already begun to engage in this important task.”
Read and share Performance Assessments: How State Policy Can Advance Assessments for 21st Century Learning at: http://www.nasbe.org/wp-content/uploads/Parsi-LDH-Performance-Assessment_Jan2015.pdf