Keynote: Accountable assessment

Richard Lehrer

Abstract

There is widespread agreement about the importance of accounting for the extent to which educational systems advance student learning. Yet, the forms and formats of accountable assessments often ill serve students and teachers; the summative judgements of student performance that are typically employed to indicate proficiencies on benchmarks of student learning commonly fail to capture student performance in ways that are specific and actionable for teachers. Timing is another key barrier to the utility of summative assessment. In the US, summative evaluations occur at the end of the school year and may serve future students, but do not help teachers better support the students who were tested. In contrast, formative assessments provide actionable grounds to improve the quality of instruction on the basis of both the granularity and specificity of their content and their timing. Unfortunately, the psychometric qualities of formative assessments are often unknown. I describe an innovative approach to assessment that aims to blend the productive characteristics of both summative and formative assessment. The resulting assessment system is accountable to students and teachers by providing actionable information for improving class...Continue Reading

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