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From the Assessment OF Education to the Assessment FOR Education: Policy and Futures

by Eva L. Baker & Edmund W. Gordon - 2014

Context: Educational reform in the United States has had a growing dependence on accountability achieved through large-scale assessment. Despite discussion and advocacy for assessment purposes that would assist learning, provide help to teachersí instructional plans and execution, and give a broader perspective of the depth and breadth of learning, the general focus still remains on accountability, now elaborated with sanctions for schools and personnel.

Focus of Study: To generate scholarly discussion, options for practice, and grounded predictions about testing in the next decades, the Gordon Commission on the Future of Assessment in Education.

Participants: Convened over a two-year period and with 30 people on the steering committee, the commissioners included well-known scholars grounded in psychometrics, assessment design, technology, learning, instruction, language, subject matter, and teaching in discussion. Commissioners, additional authors, and reviewers were largely drawn from universities, private profit, and nonprofit institutions. Professor Edmund W. Gordon was the Chair of the Commission.

Design: A knowledge acquisition and synthesis study, the product design relied on papers authored by expert scholars describing their understanding of productive student testing in their own domains. The commission funded papers on a wide variety of topics. This paper focuses on two of the major topics of the reports, the emphasis on shifting assessment to help rather than simply to mark progress and how future contexts, including technological change, may impinge on testing options.

Conclusions: The paper calls for a transformation of assessment purpose and use, from annual, time-controlled accountability assessments to more continuous assessments used in the course of a learnersí acquisition of understanding, motivation for learning, collaboration, and deep application of knowledge in problem solving, communication, and authentic settings. Assessments should emphasize helping students of varying backgrounds and goals as well as their teachers. The role of technology as an assessment design, administration, and reporting toolset is described, in the context of changing knowledge expectations and a global competitive environment.

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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 116 Number 11, 2014, p. 1-24
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 17624, Date Accessed: 1/22/2021 6:41:10 AM

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About the Author
  • Eva Baker
    E-mail Author
    EVA L. BAKER is a distinguished research professor in the UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies. She is Co-Director of the Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST), Co-Director of the Center for Advanced Technology in Schools (CATS), and Director of the Center for the Study of Evaluation (CSE). Dr. Bakerís research is focused on the integration of qualitative and quantitative approaches to the design and validation of learning interventions and assessment. Her interests especially focus on new interventions and measures of complex human performance using technology. She is presently involved in the design of technologically sophisticated systems of learning and assessment using technology in large-scale environments for both military training and civilian education.
  • Edmund Gordon
    Teachers College, Columbia University
    EDMUND W. GORDON is the Chairperson the Gordon Commission on the Future of Assessment in Education; John M. Musser Professor of Psychology, Emeritus at Yale University; and Richard March Hoe Professor, Emeritus of Psychology and Education, at Teachers College, Columbia University. Professor Gordonís distinguished career spans professional practice, scholarly life as a minister, clinical and counseling psychologist, research scientist, author, editor, and professor. He has held appointments at several of the nationís leading universities including Howard, Yeshiva, Columbia, City University of New York, and Yale. Additionally, Dr. Gordon has served as visiting professor at City College of New York and Harvard University. From July 2000 until August 2001, he was Vice President for Academic Affairs and Interim Dean of Faculty at Teachers College, Columbia University. He has authored more than 200 articles and 20 books, including On Pedagogical Imagination: A Conceptual Memoir Volumes I, II and III (Third World Press, 2012 & 2013) and Supplementary Education: The Hidden Curriculum of High Achievement (Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, 2005).
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