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Preparing for the Future: What Educational Assessment Must Do


by Randy Elliot Bennett — 2014

Background/Context: There is little question that education is changing, seemingly quickly and in some cases dramatically. The mechanisms through which individuals learn are shifting from paper-based ones to electronic media. Simultaneously, the nature of what individuals must learn is evolving, in good part due to an exponential accumulation of knowledge and of technology to access, share, and exploit that knowledge. Finally, how education is organized, offered, and administered is undergoing transformation, most apparently—but not only—in higher education. With potentially seismic changes in the mechanisms, nature, and organization of education must also come changes in educational assessment.

Purpose: This paper makes 13 claims about what educational assessment must do if it is to remain relevant in the face of rapid and potentially dramatic changes in education and society.

Research Design: Analytic essay.

Conclusions/Recommendations: If it is to remain relevant, educational assessment must provide meaningful information; satisfy multiple purposes; use modern conceptions of competency as a design basis; align test and task designs, scoring, and interpretation with those modern conceptions; adopt modern methods for designing and interpreting complex assessments; account for context; design for fairness and accessibility; design for positive impact; design for engagement; incorporate information from multiple sources; respect privacy; gather and share validity evidence; and use technology to achieve substantive goals.



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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 116 Number 11, 2014, p. -
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 17623, Date Accessed: 10/17/2017 11:56:29 PM

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About the Author
  • Randy Bennett
    Educational Testing Service
    E-mail Author
    RANDY ELLIOT BENNETT is Norman O. Frederiksen Chair in Assessment Innovation with the Research and Development Division of Educational Testing Service in Princeton, NJ. His research interests focus on integrating advances in the cognitive and learning sciences, measurement, and technology to create new forms of assessment that measure well and have positive impact on teaching and learning. He is the author of “Formative Assessment: A Critical Review,” published in the journal Assessment in Education: Principles, Policy and Practice.
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