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Knowing What Students Know: The Science and Design of Eduacational Assessment
of such discourse would be to facilitate cross-fertilization of ideas among researchers and assessment developers working at the intersection of cognitive theory and educational measurement.
Recommendations for Policy and Practice
Recommendation 6: Developers of assessment instruments for classroom or large-scale use should pay explicit attention to all three elements of the assessment triangle (cognition, observation, and interpretation) and their coordination. All three elements should be based on modern knowledge of how students learn and how such learning is best measured. Considerable time and effort should be devoted to a theory-driven design and validation process before assessments are put into operational use.
Recommendation 7: Developers of educational curricula and classroom assessments should create tools that will enable teachers to implement high-quality instructional and assessment practices, consistent with modern understanding of how students learn and how such learning can be measured. Assessments and supporting instructional materials should interpret the findings from cognitive research in ways that are useful for teachers. Developers are urged to take advantage of the opportunities afforded by technology to assess what students are learning at fine levels of detail, with appropriate frequency, and in ways that are tightly integrated with instruction.
Recommendation 8: Large-scale assessments should sample the broad range of competencies and forms of student understanding that research shows are important aspects of student learning. A variety of matrix sampling, curriculum-embedded, and other assessment approaches should be used to cover the breadth of cognitive competencies that are the goals of learning in a domain of the curriculum. Large-scale assessment tools and supporting instructional materials should be developed so that clear learning goals and landmark performances along the way to competence are shared with teachers, students, and other education stakeholders. The knowledge and skills to be assessed and the criteria for judging the desired outcomes should be clearly specified and available to all potential examinees and other concerned individuals. Assessment developers should pursue new ways of reporting assessment results that convey important differences in performance at various levels of competence in ways that are clear to different users, including educators, parents, and students.