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Re-writing the Tests: Lessons from the California State Assessment System


by Bill Honig, Francie Alexander & Dennie Palmer Wolf 1996

In this chapter we explore the consequences that ensued from so broad a mission. First, we turn to the early successes of the program. In particular, we will examine California as a case of a largely coherent approach to redesigning student assessment which involved the development of demanding curriculum frameworks (effectively the precursors to contemporary content standards), professional development, and new approaches to the conduct and reporting of data from the assessments. In a second section of the chapter, we turn to the later difficulties encountered by the program. There we will look at what the case of California, along with similar instances, can teach us about the obstacles, and even the temporary defeat, that such wholesale and new programs often encounter. In a final section we look at what the California case has to teach us about designing assessment systems with the capacity to evolve without collapsing.


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This article originally appeared as NSSE Yearbook Vol 95, No. 1.


Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 97 Number 5, 1996, p. 143-165
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 18793, Date Accessed: 10/19/2017 12:32:52 PM

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About the Author
  • Bill Honig
    San Francisco State University
    E-mail Author
    BILL HONIG is Professor of Education at San Francisco (Calif.) State University.
  • Francie Alexander
    Scholastic Publishers
    E-mail Author
    FRANCIE ALEXANDER is a vice-president at Scholastic Publishers.
  • Dennie Wolf
    Harvard University
    E-mail Author
    DENNIE PALMER WOLF is coeditor of this volume and a Senior Research Associate at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where she is the Director of Performance Assessment Collaboratives for Education (PACE), a national school reform project for urban middle schools.
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