Performance Assessment in an Era of Standards-Based Educational Accountability

Published In: Performance Assessment in an Era of Standards-Based Educational Accountability / B. Stecher. (Stanford, CA : Stanford University, Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education, 2010)

Posted on RAND.org on April 01, 2010

by Brian M. Stecher

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A number of factors account for the failure of performance assessment to capture a large role in achievement testing in the U.S., and this history can inform educators and education policymakers looking for better ways to test students and schools in an era of standards-based accountability. This paper presents a definition of performance assessment and reviews recent history of performance assessments in the U.S. and the claims supporting this approach to measuring student performance. It summarizes research on the quality, impact, and burden of performance assessments used in large-scale K-12 achievement testing. The paper concludes with a discussion of the relevance of performance assessment to contemporary standards-based educational accountability and offers recommendations to support effective use of this form of assessment.

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