Race to Top Rules Aim to Spur Shifts in Testing
Competition opened yesterday for $350 million in federal money to design new ways of assessing what students learn. Rules for the contest make clear that the government wants to leave behind multiple-choice testing more often in favor of essays, multidisciplinary projects, and other more nuanced measures of achievement.
In the final regulations for the competition, the U.S. Department of Education says it seeks assessments that “more validly measure” students’ knowledge and skills than those that have come to dominate state testing in recent years. It wants tests that show not only what students have learned, but also how that achievement has grown over time and whether they are on track to do well in college. And all that, the regulations say, requires assessments that elicit “complex student demonstrations or applications” of what they’ve learned.
The money for the assessment competition is a slice of the $4.3 billion Race to the Top contest, which is financed with money from the economic-stimulus...
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