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Knowing What Students Know: The Science and Design of Eduacational Assessment
ment principles, focused on the design of assessments that yield more valid and fair inferences about student achievement. This research should be conducted collaboratively by multidisciplinary teams comprising both researchers and practitioners. A priority should be the development of models of cognition and learning that can serve as the basis for assessment design for all areas of the school curriculum. Research on how students learn subject matter should be conducted in actual educational settings and with groups of learners representative of the diversity of the student population to be assessed. Research on new statistical measurement models and their applicability should be tied to modern theories of cognition and learning. Work should be undertaken to better understand the fit between various types of cognitive theories and measurement models to determine which combinations work best together. Research on assessment design should include exploration of systematic and fair methods for taking into account aspects of examinees’ instructional background when interpreting their responses to assessment tasks. This research should encompass careful examination of the possible consequences of such adaptations in high-stakes assessment contexts.
Recommendation 3: Research should be conducted to explore how new forms of assessment can be made practical for use in classroom and large-scale contexts and how various new forms of assessment affect student learning, teacher practice, and educational decision making. This research should also explore how teachers can be assisted in integrating new forms of assessment into their instructional practices. It is particularly important that such work be done in close collaboration with practicing teachers who have varying backgrounds and levels of teaching experience. The research should encompass ways in which school structures (e.g., length of time of classes, class size, and opportunity for teachers to work together) affect the feasibility of implementing new types of assessments and their effectiveness.
Recommendation 4: Funding should be provided for in-depth analyses of the critical elements (cognition, observation, and interpretation) underlying the design of existing assessments that have attempted to integrate cognitive and measurement principles (including the multiple examples presented in this report). This work should also focus on better understanding the impact of such exemplars on student learning, teaching practice, and educational decision making.
Recommendation 5: Federal agencies and private-sector organizations concerned with issues of assessment should support the establishment of multidisciplinary discourse communities. The purpose