Opinion
Assessment Letter to the Editor

Performance-Based Assessments Bring True Reform to Schools

April 04, 2017 1 min read

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

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
Student Well-Being Webinar
Measuring & Supporting Student Well-Being: A Researcher and District Leader Roundtable
Students’ social-emotional well-being matters. The positive and negative emotions students feel are essential characteristics of their psychology, indicators of their well-being, and mediators of their success in school and life. Supportive relationships with peers, school
Content provided by Panorama 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
School & District Management Webinar
Making Digital Literacy a Priority: An Administrator’s Perspective
Join us as we delve into the efforts of our panelists and their initiatives to make digital skills a “must have” for their district. We’ll discuss with district leadership how they have kept digital literacy
Content provided by Learning.com
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
School & District Management Webinar
How Schools Can Implement Safe In-Person Learning
In order for in-person schooling to resume, it will be necessary to instill a sense of confidence that it is safe to return. BD is hosting a virtual panel discussing the benefits of asymptomatic screening
Content provided by BD

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 Opinion AP Exams Can't Be Business as Usual This Year
The College Board seems unconcerned with the collateral damage of its pandemic approach, writes an assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction.
Pete Bavis
5 min read
Illustration of large boat in turbulent waters with other smaller boats falling into the abyss.
iStock/Getty Images Plus
Assessment Federal Lawmakers Urge Miguel Cardona to Let States Cancel Tests, Highlighting Discord
A letter from Democratic members to the new education secretary calls for an end to the "flawed" system of annual standardized exams.
3 min read
Jamaal Bowman speaks to reporters after voting at a polling station inside Yonkers Middle/High School in Yonkers, N.Y. on June 23, 2020.
Jamaal Bowman speaks to reporters after voting at a polling station inside Yonkers Middle/High School in Yonkers, N.Y. on June 23, 2020.
John Minchillo/AP
Assessment How Two Years of Pandemic Disruption Could Shake Up the Debate Over Standardized Testing
Moves to opt out of state tests and change how they're given threaten to reignite fights over high-stakes assessments.
9 min read
Image of a student at a desk.
patat/iStock/Getty
Assessment A Plan for Standardized Test Scores During the Pandemic Has Gotten States' Attention
A testing expert says his idea would provide helpful data with key context, but said other measures about student well-being are crucial.
7 min read
HS class 1257213326
Getty