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Performance-based testing

Posted By: Ralph Raimi on March 2, 2003
Ms. Darling-Hammond cites the Maryland "performance-based" tests as an example, among others, of successful testing of that sort. I believe the paper said something like "intellectually challenging". Maryland has now officially abandoned these tests, following an unfavorable review of them commissioned by the state and a local Baltimore foundation interested in education. That unfavorable review was challenged vigorously by the Maryland education department, which itself then commissioned a more favorable assessment of its system (called MSPAP). Unfortunately, the very next year saw the collapse of MSPAP, owing to a disastrously unreliable set of results bearing little correlation to the results in the same schools and districts in previous administrations of MSPAP. The embarrassed state withheld the results for a while, and then took advantage of becoming able to cite federal legislation that made it difficult to continue such testing in principle to announce that it was compelled to stop the scheme. I would not count Maryland's MSPAP a success, and would ask Darling-Hammond to look into this example one more time. I wonder if the other performance-based testing states cited in her article as successful are or were any better.
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 Performance-based testing by Ralph Raimi on March 2, 2003
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