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Are we assessing learning, or assessing for learning?

High Stakes Testing & Cheating by Professionals

John Oliver Explains Problems With Standardized Testing

Standards & Standards-Based Assessment

National Core Standards

Georgia Performance Standards


By Eric Stirgus - The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Georgia’s current writing exam for high schoolers may soon be history.

State education department officials unveiled a proposal Wednesday to phase out the exam in favor of annual writing assessments that will be given to students every year beginning in third grade.

Having another high school writing exam along with the assessment would be redundant, said board member Kenneth Mason, explaining the rationale for phasing out the current exam.

The new writing test would begin in the 2015-16 school year as part of the state’s Georgia Milestones initiative. The plan was discussed during the state board of education’s rules committee meeting Wednesday.

The Milestones initiative was created to raise education standards for Georgia students.

“This would be in alignment with what are standards are,” Mason said in an interview.

In addition to the writing test, students were required to pass the Georgia High School Graduation Tests (GHSGT) in language arts, math, science and social studies. State officials felt those tests failed to adequately assess student proficiency in those areas. The state removed the requirements for students to take the tests in all content areas, except writing, beginning the phase out with students who were freshmen in the 2011-12 school year.

Students will begin taking Georgia Milestones exams in language arts, math, science and social studies starting in the upcoming school year. The exams will replace the Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests and the state’s End Of Course Tests.

The increased expectations for student learning reflected in Georgia Milestones may initially mean lower scores than the CRCT and End Of Course Tests, state officials warn.

Melissa Fincher, director of testing for the state, hopes Georgia Milestones would allow more time for classroom instruction. Fincher said the department will have a 30-day period for public comments on the writing test phase-out beginning after the July state board meeting. The board will likely vote on the proposal in August.

Performance Assessments

Listening as Performance Assessment - Kids Say The Darndest Things!

Performance Assessments & Rubrics

Georgia Writing Assessment - Grade 5

Georgia Writing Rubrics

Formative-Assessment Process

Formative Assessment­—A Process, Not a Test
By W. James Popham
Excerpt from article Feb 22, 2011

I love hyphens. Always have. Always will. If used properly, hyphens make things easier to read. This is because hyphenated words let readers know there’s something still coming in a phrase that’s being read, so the reader should hold off a bit before deciding on the meaning of what’s being read at that instant.

For an illustration, ask yourself which of these two sentences is more easily understood:

(1) The teachers were dismayed with the test takers’ indifference.

(2) The teachers were dismayed with the test-takers’ indifference.

Upon reading the first sentence, many readers will initially conclude that the teachers were dismayed with the test itself rather than with the nonchalant attitude of students taking the test. In the second sentence, however, the hyphen between “test” and “takers’” makes it apparent the teachers’ dismay was directed toward students’ indifference, not toward the test.

Currently, the absence of a hyphen can seriously muck up the meaning of an instructional approach that’s capable of benefiting thousands of students. I refer to formative assessment or, more accurately, to the formative-assessment process. My contention is that the absence of a hyphen between “formative” and “assessment” inclines educators to accept an inaccurate conception of an instructional approach which, when properly employed, helps boatloads of children. When “formative assessment” is inaccurately thought of as a kind of test, however, it can turn out to be of little value to students.

For today’s educators to get clear-headed about what is meant by the formative-assessment process is particularly important. This is because the formative-assessment process, when used by teachers, leads to substantial gains in students’ learning.

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