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Developing an Internationally Comparable Balanced Assessment System That Supports High-Quality Learning

Abstract

This model proposes a balanced assessment system that integrates curriculum and assessments, both formative and summative, and is designed to support higher quality, more coherent instruction. It would be implemented by consortia of states committed to developing curriculum frameworks based on the Common Core Standards and learning progressions. The components of the assessment system all designed to go beyond recall of facts and show students abilities to evaluate evidence, problem solve, and understand contexts include analytic selected response items, short and extended constructed response items, and standardized performance tasks in each grade level tested. The results of on demand tests (which include the first two types of items) combined with weighted results of reliably scored curriculum embedded performance tasks would provide student achievement data that could be compared across schools, districts, and states (summative assessments). The system also would be able to show student growth along multiple dimensions. Technology would be used to deliver tests, collect student work for teacher/scorer use and for training scorers, manage the scoring/reporting processes, and eventually help teachers to manage classroom practice. Technology would also support computer adaptive testing and computer scoring of some open-ended items. This system, properly implemented, would provide a more performance based and useful assessment system at potentially no more cost than the present less rich and less helpful systems in use.

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