On Thursday, May 28th, 2009, we officially launched the National Testing Survey. The launch event was be hosted by the International Mind, Brain, and Education Society (IMBES), just prior to the opening of its second annual international conference at the Sheraton Society Hill Hotel in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Although we did not break a bottle of champagne over the bow, we did put together an interesting late-afternoon presentation.
At this event, speakers presented some of the preliminary data from the NTS and examined the limits of current testing models, incorporating the perspectives of stakeholder groups who have participated in the survey so far.
Zachary Stein, M.Ed., Harvard Graduate School of Education—The National Testing Survey: Mission, instrument, and preliminary findings
Marc Schwartz, Ph.D., University of Texas at Arlington—Why depth of study matters & and how testing undermines this pedagogy
Theo L. Dawson, Ph.D., Developmental Testing Service—Three reasons to be concerned about our current approach to standardized testing
Zachary Stein, M.Ed., Harvard Graduate School of Education—On the evidenced based redesign of our testing infrastructure
The most basic form of educational testing takes the form of a "conversation" between an individual student and a teacher in which the student reveals what he or she is most likely to benefit from learning next. This kind of conversation increasingly takes a back seat to standardized forms of assessment that are designed to rank students for purposes that are dissociated from learning itself. Testing has lost its roots. The statistically generated rankings of standardized tests tell us very little about the specific learning needs of individual students. And it is becoming increasingly apparent that the kind of knowledge required to succeed on a typical standardized test bears little resemblance to the kind of knowledge required for adult life. The challenge we now face is creating the kind of mass-customization that revives the educative role of assessments in the local dialogue between teachers, students, and the curriculum, while maintaining the advantages of standardization. Simply stated: we need tests that help teachers meet the learning needs of individual students--tests teachers ought to teach to. In this workshop, we explore perspectives on these issues from the classroom, cognitive developmental science, psychometrics, and philosophy and introduce a concrete vision for the future of assessment.