Assessments of the future?

In September I participated on a panel providing input to the Board on Testing and Assessment (BOTA) at the National Academy of Sciences.  The BOTA and the Board on Science Education (BOSE) are collaborating on a report that will outline recommendations for future science assessments to support the vision of the Framework.

During my presentation, I commented on the viability of technology-based and curriculum-embedded assessment exemplars showcased in the meeting.  I also addressed practical, technical, and psychometric challenges that might arise with the implementation of these approaches.

Whatever assessments we use in the future we will need to carefully consider the purpose for these assessments.  Rosemary Reshetar, Brian Reisner and others outlined for the BOTA some of the purposes of the assessment tools that they showcased during the daylong meeting.  Looking forward states will need to carefully examine assessment instruments to ensure that they are aligned to the vision of the Framework for K-12 Science Education and meet the expectations for formative and/or summative reporting needs.

Assessment should not drive our system BUT it can help it us to break some molds. For example, the integration of technology-based assessments like the ones described during the BOTA/BOSE meeting reinforce the importance of using technology to enhance learning. The integration of these assessments (like the recent NAEP Science Assessments) will push on the system to increasingly use technology to enhance learning. Phil Brookhouse and I will be doing a series of workshops this fall to outline how the MLTI tools can used to enhance integration of the Science and Engineering Practices. Maine is well poised for this integration.

The blueprint of the Framework makes it incumbent on us to produce assessments that look and report differently. This pending report from the BOTA, and its findings, will be critical for moving the Vision of the Framework forward.

I will let you know when the report is released.  For more information, you can watch the proceeding of BOTA/BOSE meeting.