Changing Assessments: Alternative Views of Aptitude, by Bernard R. Gifford (auth.), Bernard R. Gifford, Mary

By Bernard R. Gifford (auth.), Bernard R. Gifford, Mary Catherine O’Connor (eds.)

Bernard R. Gifford As we side towards the yr 2000, the knowledge age is a fact; the worldwide industry is more and more aggressive; and the U.S. exertions strength is shrinking. this present day greater than ever, our nation's monetary and social overall healthiness hinges on our skill to faucet our human resources-to establish expertise, to nurture it, and to evaluate skills and disabilities in ways in which support each person achieve his or her complete capability. In pursuing that target, decision-makers in schooling, undefined, and govt are depending more and more on standardized assessments: units of query- with exact instructions, deadlines and projects for all test-takers-designed to allow an inference approximately what somebody is familiar with or can do in a specific quarter. CALIBRATING distinction Our emphasis on standardized checking out rests on a premise that's so uncomplicated it usually escapes realize: that we people are assorted from one another in ways in which are either significant and measurable. We vary by way of cognitive skill; flair for acting other forms of psychological and actual initiatives; temperament; and pursuits. yet in some way, with out enough exam, we've got taken an exceptional collective bounce from that ordinary to the concept that there are specific, measurable gradations of innate skill that may be used to direct youngsters to the perfect study rooms, and adults to the best activity slots.

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Nevertheless, a consideration of these chapters against a background of the many uses of tests in public policy may open a window on unexpected solutions to old problems. CONTENTS OF THE CHAPTERS Several issues emerge from these chapters, though they are treated differently in each. First and perhaps most important is the direction of influence between tests, curriculum and instruction. Many have observed that in recent 24 O'Connor years, the "testing tail" is wagging the "instructional dog" (although not all agree, compare Ruddell 1985, and Suhor 1985).

Writing across the curriculum" has provoked a new interest in the problems associated with writing assessment. A grass-roots philosophy within the language arts, sometimes called "whole language," seeks to bring children to the highest levels of literacy by surrounding them with enriching, enabling experiences with oral and printed language. These activities are the antithesis of the decontextualized approach to language skills found in current standardized tests, and, as might be expected, teachers who are committed to the values of "whole language" face a tremendous problem when their students are evaluated in traditional ways.

Overview 33 1 The term "folk model" or sometimes "cultural model," is used to denote the belief systems which individuals use to guide their decisions, judgments, and actions. These belief systems mayor may not be organized and internally coherent. They are distinct from theoretical models in that they are generally not axiomatized, and do not support strong inference. Rather, they seem to consist of loosely coupled general principles, rules of thumb, and working definitions that are based in experience, and are local, that is, relativized to a small comer of experience.

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