Accountability, or Mastery?

April 24, 2007 1 min read

Instituting performance-based assessments that link content to skills is a promising new approach to redesigning high schools, writes Joseph DiMartino in this Education Week Commentary. Two states—New Hampshire and Rhode Island—are adopting just such an approach, in which students must demonstrate their mastery of content through hands-on, real-world situations.

These programs may be a catalyst for change across an educational landscape overwhelmingly characterized by standardized testing, writes DiMartino. Such programs will drive curriculum, motivate students, and change the relationship between students and teachers in a positive way. The focus on real-world situations would also better prepare students for the workforce.

What do you think? Can performance assessment lead to better student outcomes than accountability testing alone? Can nontraditional strategies coexist and survive in an accountability-oriented education system?

A version of this news article first appeared in the TalkBack blog.