NCTM Position on High-Stakes Assessment

High-stakes tests are those whose outcomes are used to make decisions that can have harsh consequences on a teacher, student, or school. For example, a teacher may not be rehired; a student may be held back or not allowed to graduate; a school may be closed or not allowed to function under its current administrators. In its position statement on large-scale mathematics assessments, NCTM’s (2012) position statement on high-stakes testing states that “large-scale mathematics assessments are only one of a variety of measures that should be used when making high-stakes decisions that significantly impact schools and students” (1). NCTM president Linda Gojak (2013a) reminds assessment makers and teachers:

If we are to realize the potential of the Common Core, we must begin to think about assessment differently. We must assess students daily through the questions we ask and the tasks we present. We must use the information that we gather from listening to our students to decide our next instructional moves. We cannot wait for end-of-the-year high-stakes assessments to determine whether students have learned the mathematics. We cannot spend hours of valuable instructional time on formal assessments.

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