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The Assessment Bridge
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The Assessment Bridge
Positive Ways to Link Tests to Learning, Standards, and Curriculum Improvement



June 2002 | 180 pages | Corwin

"Just the kind of bridge we need to span the ideological wars and make schools work for teachers and their students."
Ann Lieberman
Senior Scholar, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching
Visiting Professor, Stanford University

"In her supremely well-written and useful book, Dr. Solomon has woven together historical perspective, research, and her own considerable experience to address reforming schools in the 21st Century.  After defining the problem (productive change), Dr. Solomon has examined 'old' solutions and conceptualized new ones to create better schools for students."
Nancy Goldman, Director of Curriculum
Pearl River School District
Pearl River, NY

"Standards and implementation of the learning process go hand in hand. The Assessment Bridge makes us clearly aware of the present need for a bridge between the two so that standards may not create greater failure and the rejection of formal education by many children."
Matthew Foley, Pastor
Epiphany Roman Catholic Church

We must ensure that tests serve the needs of education—not force education to fulfill needs of test creators.

The Assessment Bridge is award-winning educator Pearl Solomon's penetrating and cogent examination of today's high-stakes standards-based testing movement, which seems to compromise effective teaching and learning rather than improve it. Committed teachers know the importance of student assessment as a guide to classroom instruction. Restoring assessment to its proper place in the curriculum is the goal of this clear-headed analysis. Chapters cover:

  • The origins and history of the current testing movement
  • How good tests guide teaching and learning
  • How to balance standardized tests, curriculum standards, and critical local variables such as class size, socioeconomics, and teacher attitudes
  • How to build bridges from test anxiety to improved student learning, teacher training, curriculum and instruction, and school administration and leadership
  • How to recruit, train, and nurture a new generation of talented, committed, and effective teachers

Emphasizing the positive at all times, Solomon guides us toward creation of better schools where the best teachers and school leaders link tests to standards, curriculum, and improved student learning.

by Ann Lieberman
Foreword
 
Preface
 
About the Author
 
1. Defining the Problem: The Historical Context
About This Chapter  
Schools as Transmitters of Culture  
What Early 20th-Century Schools Were Like  
My School in Bethel  
Elementary Schools in Depression-Era New York City  
Education Beyond the Classroom  
Schools in the Later 20th Century: A Beginning Teacher  
IQ Tests and Regents Exams  
Defining and Dealing With Differences  
What the Research Told Us  
Proving My Point: Giving Students Choices  
Back to Basics  
Special Education  
Using History as a Decision Base  
 
2. Schools at the Beginning of the 21st Century: Problems and Proposed Solutions
About This Chapter  
Defining the Problem  
Proposed Solution One: Defining Educational Standards  
Proposed Solution Two: School Accountability  
The Government Response: High-Stake Testing  
High-Stakes Testing: The Other Stakeholders Respond  
Proposed Solution Three: Achieveing Equity Through School Choice  
Proposed Solution Four: Extending the Time for Schooling  
Time for Enrichment  
Time for a Good Start  
Proposed Solution Five: Technology in the Classroom  
The Research Base for Technology Use  
Technology as an Assessment Tool and Manager  
The Current Status of the Use of Technology in Schools  
Technology for Communicating With Our Public  
Some Conclusions About Technology in the Classroom  
 
3. Taking the First Steps Toward Productive Change
About This Chapter  
The Variables of Change  
Vision and Voice  
History and Setting  
Bounded Rationality  
Opportunism and Asset-Specific Investments  
Step One: Building New Capacity  
Step Two: Generating Ownership  
Step Three: Assuming Leadership  
Step Four: Providing Time for Learning and Change  
Changing Schools in the Search for a Better Future  
 
4. The Assessment Roadway: How Tests Tell Us What to Do
About This Chapter  
Demonstrating Knowledge  
Defining Standards and Assessment  
Rubrics  
The Task-Specific Rubric  
The Developmental Rubric  
Using Rubrics in Formative and Summative Assessment  
Summative Applications  
Generating Ownership of Tests  
Reaching Consensus on Group Summative Scores  
Matching Distal and Proximal Measures  
Validity: Does It Fit?  
Generating Ownership: Begin With Curriculum-Based Proximal Assessments  
Preparing for the Tests: Curriculum Teaching  
Proximal Measures Responding to HSSB Analyses  
What Lies Beneath: Disaggregating Scores  
Disaggregating for Noninstructional Differences  
Relationship of Teacher Training and Experience to Student Achievement  
Other Cultural and School Variables: Confronting the Achievement Gap  
 
5. Responding to High-Stakes, Standards-Based (HSSB) Tests: Restructuring Curriculum
About This Chapter  
Two Alternative Responses to HSSB Tests  
Alternative One: Starting With the HSSB Test  
Embedded Concepts  
Assessment-Responsive Curriculum Adjustments  
Starting From a Core of HSSB Tests: Applying and Responding to Analysis  
Alternative Two: Starting With the Standards  
Responding to Test Data With Curriculum Reconstruction  
In Conclusion: Assessing Oneself  
 
6. Building a Cohort of the Best Teachers: Recruitment, Engagement, Nurturance
About This Chapter  
About Models  
Why We Need to Recruit Teachers  
Where Teachers Used to Come From  
Why There Is a Current Shortage: The Recruitment Pool  
Why There Is a Current Shortage: Retention  
Solving the Prestige Problem: Interdependent Stakeholders  
Solving the Prestige Problem: Changing the Agenda of Teacher Unions  
Solving the Prestige Problem: Raising Teacher Salaries  
The REN Model: Recruiting Heroes  
The REN Model: Educating Recruits  
The REN Model: Engagement in Action  
The REN Model: Engagement in Interaction  
The REN Model: Nurturing Novices  
Nurturing Experienced Teachers: The Need for Better Professional Development  
Motivating Teachers to Participate in Professional Development  
A Cooperative-Teaching Model  
How I Learned: Cooperative Teaching  
Professional-Development Schools: Object Linking and Embedding (OLE) Relationships  
An Example: The East Ramapo and St. Thomas Aquinas College PDS  
Engaging in the OLE Process  
Some General Conclusions About Increasing Teachers' Capacity  
 
7. Searching for Leadership
About This Chapter  
Understanding Leadership and Power  
Direct and Indirect Messages  
Evoking Change  
Leading: Giving Power and Indirect Messages  
How Educational Leaders Act  
A Personal Analysis From the Distributive Perspective  
Shared Leadership and Power  
The Power of Money, Matches, Tradition, Time, and Place  
Social Interactions, Macrotasks, and Microtasks in Curriculum Leadership Roles  
Social Interactions, Macrotasks, and Microtasks in the Principal Leadership Role  
The Shortage of Administrators  
Leadership by Teachers  
Leadership by Teacher Networks  
MCMSC Network: Sample Activities  
What We Learned About Leadership Needs  
Addressing Sociocultural Needs: Other Sources and Focuses of Leadership  
Community-Based Leadership: Project Excel  
Community-Based Leadership: Windhover Farm  
Using Models to Build the Assessment Bridge  
 
Epilogue
 
References
 
Index

 "Just the kind of bridge we need to span the ideological wars and make schools work for teachers and their students."

Ann Lieberman, Senior Scholar, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching
Visiting Professor, Stanford University

"In her supremely well-written and useful book, Dr. Solomon has woven together historical perspective, research, and her own considerable experience to address reforming schools in the 21st Century.  After defining the problem (productive change), Dr. Solomon has examined "old" solutions and conceptualized new ones to create better schools for students.  She has focused the reader's attention on critical issues to be addressed--restructuring curriculum around assessment to inform instruction; selecting, training, and retaining the best teachers; and developing shared leadership--and has offered useful and practical suggestions to address them."

Dr. Nancy Goldman, Director of Curriculum
Pearl River School District; Pearl River, NY

"Standards and implementation of the learning process go hand in hand. The Assessment Bridge makes us clearly aware of the present need for a bridge between the two so that standards may not create greater failure and the rejection of formal education by many children."

Matthew Foley, Pastor
Epiphany Roman Catholic Church; Brooklyn, NY

"This book presents the needed material to follow from Dr. Solomon’s work on standards and curriculum. It completes the bridge from goals to accountability by introducing a better understanding of assessment. It will allow educators to better comprehend the key instructional issues that we face."

Jason P. Friedman, Superintendent of Schools
East Ramapo Central School District, New York
Key features
  • A look at how testing can lead to improved teaching and learning
  • Incorporates views from both sides of the assessment argument (high-stakes testing movement vs. the high-profile testing backlash)
  • Sure to be of interest to both pre-service and in-service markets, and to both teachers and administrators
  • A good fit with our prestigious assessment list and EAS series
  • A sequel to The Curriculum Bridge, which Choice described as "an exceptional 'how to' resource for practicing educators and a supplemental text and reference for undergraduate or graduate students."

 


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