Background:This brief reflection on the work of the Gordon Commission calls out significant themes and implications found in the various papers authored by the commissioners and other scholars, especially those included in this special issue of Teachers College Record.
Purpose: The forward-looking vision of the Gordon Commission is contrasted with contemporary teaching and testing practices to highlight implications for new assessment purposes and methods. It is argued that a new vision of assessment is inseparable from a new vision of teaching and learning. To realize this new vision, some current practices, especially uses of testing to sort and select students and to rank teachers and schools, will need to be greatly attenuated or even abandoned.
Research Design: This is a narrative review expressing the author’s own point of view. No empirical findings are cited.
Conclusions: A conservative reading of the Gordon Commission’s work might suggest that educational assessment tomorrow should function much as it does today, only better. A closer reading, however, suggests a more radical view. Assessment FOR education must break free from the constraints of standardization and consequential comparison.