Teaching Profession

Are There Alternatives to Standardized Tests?

By Anthony Rebora — September 29, 2010 1 min read

Doug Johnson shares many educators’ skepticism of standardized test scores as a meaningful gauge of student learning and (especially) teacher effectiveness. But, given that schools realistically need to show some form of measureable output, he questions why educators haven’t come up with an “alternative means means of assessing effectiveness.” In particular, he wonders why we’ve haven’t seen some sort of coordinated effort to quantify the results of more formative and varied types of classroom assessments:

I have always been a big fan of authentic assessment tools to measure student performance. Checklists, rubrics, conferences, etc. help kids improve and achieve mastery. Correctly designed, they can be objective and result in some form of numerical data.
What I've not seen is a classroom, building or district aggregate this data to produce a score for groups of students. Such aggregation would result in both meaning and reliability.

It’s an interesting point, I think. Teachers generally seem to value the types of assessments Johnson refers to. Can they be quantified in any systematic way, for broader consumption? Is it a matter (so to speak) of teachers putting their money where their mouth is?

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