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Assessment: Measuring What Matters

Goal: Our education system at all levels will leverage the power of technology to measure what matters and use assessment data for continuous improvement.

Most of the assessment done in schools today is after the fact and designed to indicate only whether students have learned. Little is done to assess students’ thinking during learning so we can help them learn better. Nor do we collect and aggregate student learning data in ways that make the information valuable to and accessible by educators, schools, districts, states, and the nation to support continuous improvement and innovation. We are not using the full flexibility and power of technology to design, develop, and validate new assessment materials and processes for both formative and summative uses.

Just as learning sciences and technology play an essential role in helping us create more effective learning experiences, when combined with assessment theory they also can provide a foundation for much-needed improvements in assessment (Pellegrino, Chudowsky, & Glaser, 2001; Tucker, 2009). These improvements include finding new and better ways to assess what matters, doing assessment in the course of learning when there is still time to improve student performance, and involving multiple stakeholders in the process of designing, conducting, and using assessment.

Equally important, we now are acutely aware of the need to make data-driven decisions at every level of our education system on the basis of what is best for each and every student – decisions that in aggregate will lead to better performance and greater efficiency across the entire system.

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