this report, that assessment that serves the purpose of supporting student learning may not serve the purpose of program evaluation equally well.
While this dilemma is complex and often poorly understood, it can begin to be addressed by starting with a clear definition of both the goals for learning in such environments and the targets of inference. By following the design principles set forth in this report, it is possible to design fair assessments of student attainment that are not totally embedded in the learning environment or confounded with technology use. Assessing the knowledge students acquire in specific technology-enhanced learning environments requires tasks and observations designed to provide evidence consistent with an appropriate student model. The latter identifies the specific knowledge and skills students are expected to learn and the precise form of that knowledge, including what aspects are tied to specific technology tools. An interesting example of this principled approach to assessment design is the Mashpee Quest task (described earlier in Box 7–1) (Mislevy et al., 2000).
While it is always risky to predict the future, it appears clear that advances in technology will continue to impact the world of education in powerful and provocative ways. Many technology-driven advances in the design of learning environments, which include the integration of assessment with instruction, will continue to emerge and will reshape the terrain of what is both possible and desirable in education. Advances in curriculum, instruction, assessment, and technology are likely to continue to move educational practice toward a more individualized and mastery-oriented approach to learning. This evolution will occur across the K-16 spectrum. To manage learning and instruction effectively, people will want and need to know considerably more about what has been mastered, at what level, and by whom.
One of the limiting factors in effectively integrating assessment into educational systems to address the range of questions that need to be answered about student achievement is the lack of models of student learning for many aspects of the curriculum. This situation will change over time, and it will become possible to incorporate much of the necessary theoretical and empirical knowledge into technology-based systems for instruction and assessment.
It is both intriguing and useful to consider the possibilities that might arise if assessment were integrated into instruction in multiple curricular areas, and the resultant information about student accomplishment and understanding were collected with the aid of technology. In such a world,