tests as evidence of the success or failure of schools and schooling (Linn and Herman, 1997; NRC, 1999b; American Educational Research Association, 2000).
Assessment and accountability practices apply to educators as well as to K-12 students. National concern about teacher quality (NRC, 2001b; Lewis et al., 1999; Education Trust, 1999a) has given rise to assessments for prospective and practicing teachers. These vary from tests such as the Praxis I and II, used by many colleges and universities as an entry or exit requirement for teacher education programs, to state tests that prospective teachers must pass before they receive licensure. Some states have instituted more complex processes for initial licensure, including evaluation of portfolios of student work and videos of classroom practice during induction years. Teachers seeking National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) certification must satisfactorily complete a series of assessments based on videos of their classroom teaching and analysis of student work, as well as tests of their content knowledge (NBPTS, 2001).
Assessments designed or selected by teachers are critical components of education assessment. Teachers use assessment to inform instructional decisions, motivate and reward students, assign grades, and report student progress to families. They continuously assess what students know and how they have come to that understanding by, for example, reviewing homework, managing discussions, asking questions, listening to student conversations, answering questions, and observing student strategies as they work in class. Assessment and instruction interact when teachers collect evidence about student performance and use it to shape their teaching (NRC, 2001a; Shepard, 2000; Black and Wiliam, 1998; Niyogi, 1995).
Teachers also give students “summative” assessments regularly as end-of-unit and end-of-year tests. Teachers build their