Opinion
Assessment Letter to the Editor

Performance-Based Assessments Bring True Reform to Schools

April 04, 2017 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

To the Editor:

I write in response to an article in your Quality Counts report titled “Offered Chance to Craft Tests, States Moving With Caution” (Jan. 4, 2017), which addresses the most significant issue leading to innovation in the history of education.

While many people talk as if changing the name or the owner of a school is “reform-minded,” the reality is that those actions are simply akin to shuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic. Nothing changes.

However, true reform is on the horizon. As the article notes, shortly seven states will be accepted into a small group allowed to develop performance-based assessments as well as other innovative assessments in lieu of standardized tests.

Because assessment drives the curriculum, I believe that the system and philosophy of education would take a large step toward inclusion of critical and rational thinking if performance-based assessments became the norm. Schools would be acknowledging what a child can do, rather than what that child is able to mark with a No. 2 pencil.

It is time for states to step up and prepare for this dramatic innovation in education. I realize it may be the most difficult project some teachers have ever faced. But the results would be teachers taking back their profession and students finding their pathway to success.

It is time we protect our children from those monsters, ogres, and other politicians who are forcing our children into a tiny box full of word games and math riddles in pursuit of standardized learning. It is time to expect our children to think while it is still permissible to do so.

Eldon “Cap” Lee

Burnsville, N.C.

A version of this article appeared in the April 05, 2017 edition of Education Week as Performance-Based Assessments Bring True Reform to Schools

Events

Special Education Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table - Special Education: Proven Interventions for Academic Success
Special education should be a launchpad, not a label. Join the conversation on how schools can better support ALL students.
Special Education K-12 Essentials Forum Innovative Approaches to Special Education
Join this free virtual event to explore innovations in the evolving landscape of special education.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Curriculum Webinar
STEM Fusion: Empowering K-12 Education through Interdisciplinary Integration
Join our webinar to learn how integrating STEM with other subjects can revolutionize K-12 education & prepare students for the future.
Content provided by Project Lead The Way

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Assessment What the Research Says AI and Other Tech Can Power Better Testing. Can Teachers Use the New Tools?
Assessment experts call for better educator supports for technology use.
3 min read
Illustration of papers and magnifying glass
iStock / Getty Images Plus
Assessment What the Research Says What Teachers Should Know About Integrating Formative Assessment With Instruction
Teachers need to understand how tests fit into their larger instructional practice, experts say.
3 min read
Students with raised hands.
E+ / Getty
Assessment AI May Be Coming for Standardized Testing
An international test may offer clues on how AI can help create better assessments.
4 min read
online test checklist 1610418898 brightspot
champpixs/iStock/Getty
Assessment The 5 Burning Questions for Districts on Grading Reforms
As districts rethink grading policies, they consider the purpose of grades and how to make them more reliable measures of learning.
5 min read
Grading reform lead art
Illustration by Laura Baker/Education Week with E+ and iStock/Getty