The president has called for testing methods that will do a better job helping educators prepare students for the demands of the 21st century. We view this as an invitation to ask stakeholders, “What do you think these tests should do for students and teachers?”
Before legislators make decisions about the future of standardized testing, we think it's important to ask stakeholders what these tests ought to do for us.
This is important, because legislators—and test developers— will do a better job serving stakeholder interests if they know exactly what stakeholders value.
Please chime in. Take the NTS. When you are finished, recruit your friends and family, and/or consider tweeting, blogging, or writing an old fashioned editorial about the NTS.
Testing drives instruction. Tests tell teachers what we value. If they focus on facts and formulas, teachers feel compelled to focus on facts and formulas. If they focus on creative thinking, teachers will focus on creative thinking. What kind of tests do you want teachers to teach to?
Is it possible to design reliable, objective tests that do a good job assessing skills like critical thinking, problem solving, and analytical writing?
Judging from recent contributions to scholarly journals, educational testing experts are developing a range of promising approaches to assessment that go beyond facts and formulas.
Some of them even include feedback describing what individual students are most likely to benefit from learning next.