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Failing to Meet the Standards: The English Language Arts Test for Fourth Graders in New York State


by Clifford Hill ó 2004

This article examines two kinds of problems associated with the English Language Arts test at the fourth-grade level in New York State: (1) problems that inhere in the test itself and (2) problems associated with its use. As for the test itself, three kinds of problems are analyzed: (1) the use of multiple-choice tasks to assess reading comprehension, (2) the number of writing tasks that children must respond to within a limited time frame, and (3) the use of a rubric that contains unrealistic criteria. As for the use of the test, two kinds of problems are analyzed: (1) the use of coaching material that has not been properly vetted and (2) the discontinued use of broadly based assessment programs that complement testing with portfolio sampling of children's work. The conclusions offer recommendations for dealing with these problems.


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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 106 Number 6, 2004, p. 1086-1123
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 11567, Date Accessed: 10/20/2017 8:24:45 AM

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About the Author
  • Clifford Hill
    Teachers College
    E-mail Author
    CLIFFORD HILL is the Arthur I. Gates Professor of Language and Education Emeritus at Teachers College, Columbia University. He has written various articles and books that deal with language and literacy assessment, most notably Children and Reading Test and From Testing to Assessment: English as an International Language. Another major area of Dr. Hillís research is concerned with how language represents space and time. This research has been funded by international research institutes, such as the Max Planck Institut fur Psycholinguistik and the Institut Nationale de Recherches Pedagogiques. His publications in this area have been translated into other languages. He currently directs a research project on digitally based assessment, jointly funded by the College Board, Teachers College, Columbia University, and the Office of Educational Research and Improvement (OERI) in the U.S. Department of Education.
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