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Context and Perspective: Implications for Assessment in Education

by Edmund W. Gordon & Emily B. Campbell - 2014

Background/Context: This article is a piece of analytic and descriptive commentary based on the work of the Gordon Commission on the Future of Assessment of Education.

Purpose: The purpose of this essay is to advocate for greater attention given to the correlates of human performance in educational measurement. The authors argue the importance of attribution, context, and perspective as factors influencing human performance.

Research Design: The essay is primarily analytic and historical with respect to the conceptualizations that should guide the contextualization of assessment in education.

Conclusions: (a) Greater respect for and sensitivity to the fact that adaptive behavior is a function of the integration of affective, cognitive, and situative processes operating in conscious organisms functioning in context. (b) Importance of systems of assessment that produce multiple forms of data that should be combined in different constellations for specific purposes. (c) Explicit recognition that decontextualized and situated probes are in fact distortions and the data from such probes cannot legitimately be used for definitive judgment. (d) Emerging electronic digital technologies may provide opportunities for effective assessments of contexts, as well as assessments of adaptive behaviors in context. (e) The documentation of personal attributions and personal perceptions are problematic, though such data are important and must be subjected to systematicity in programs of assessment in education. (f) Formative assessment, portfolio development, and relational analysis.

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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 116 Number 11, 2014, p. 1-18
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 17652, Date Accessed: 5/27/2020 9:54:43 PM

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About the Author
  • Edmund Gordon
    Teachers College, Columbia University
    E-mail Author
    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).
  • Emily Campbell
    CUNY Graduate Center
    E-mail Author
    EMILY B. CAMPBELL is a doctoral student in Sociology at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Her research interests include youth development, inequality and the life course, human rights, race and ethnicity, and political sociology.
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