Monday, October 10, 2016

FairTest Proposes One Possible Path Away from Test-and-Punish | janresseger

FairTest Proposes One Possible Path Away from Test-and-Punish | janresseger:

FairTest Proposes One Possible Path Away from Test-and-Punish

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FairTest, the National Center for Fair and Open Testing, has released an important brief,Assessment Matters: Constructing Model State Systems to Replace Testing Overkill.  The new Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which replaced No Child Left Behind last December, opens the possibility of experimentation with some softening of test-and-punish.  There will be no quick turnaround, and it surely will not begin before a new President and new Secretary of Education take over in January. But as FairTest explains, under ESSA there is at least now a chance for states to begin experimenting with change.
FairTest shows how states can take advantage of an experiment—written into the Every Student Succeeds Act—to crawl out from under the avalanche of standardized testing into the sunlight of a program that is its exact opposite: schools’ evaluating students with portfolios of work created in their classrooms under the guidance of their teachers: “FairTest proposes a model system to maximize high-quality assessment within ESSA’s constraints… Unlike NCLB, which revolved around standardized test scores, the model begins with classroom-based evidence that emanates from ongoing student work. FairTest’s model is rooted in exemplary practice and a set of principles derived from decades of assessment reform efforts. The primary purpose of this innovative system is to support high-quality, individualized student learning.  It is guided by teachers but substantially student controlled, with multiple ways to demonstrate learning… Districts or consortia of schools or districts, have the flexibility to ensure the structure and nature of their assessment systems address their local needs and challenges. This could range from assessments rooted in inquiry- and project-based learning, with extensive student choice, to more traditional curriculum, instruction and tests.”
The Every Student Succeeds Act’s  “Innovative Assessment” pilot project allows for up to seven states to try out new testing models as a substitute for federally mandated annual standardized tests.  Now this is sort of tricky, because there are all sorts of requirements that seem daunting: “A full new system must include English language arts (ELA) and math assessments in at least grades 3-8 and once in high school, plus three grades of science…. A pilot can start with a limited number of districts but must include a plan to become statewide in five years, though extensions are allowed… During the pilot period, the new assessments must also be comparable with current state tests.  ESSA draft regulations list ways in which such comparability can be established.  These include administering the state exam to all FairTest Proposes One Possible Path Away from Test-and-Punish | janresseger:


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