School & District Management Report Roundup

Student Testing

By Debra Viadero — May 18, 2009 1 min read

Educators need to use both “assessments for learning” and “assessments of learning” to gauge and improve student progress, according to a report from an education publisher.

In the report, experts from Pearson, a London-based publisher of many textbooks, tests, and other educational materials that are widely used in the United States, draw a distinction between the standardized tests used by policymakers to measure student progress and newer formative assessments that are designed to promote student learning.

While the former type of assessment has been criticized by educators pressured to do more student testing under the federal No Child Left Behind Act, a growing body of research shows how the latter can lead to learning gains and help to improve instruction, according to the report, which also summarizes much of that research. A balanced combination of both approaches, the report contends, “can provide a rich stream of information and timely feedback loops that support the work of the teacher and the student.” The report, released last week, is the second of four issue papers by Pearson that are aimed at shortening the lag between emerging research on assessment and public understanding of its uses.

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A version of this article appeared in the May 20, 2009 edition of Education Week

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