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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



August 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, USA

A clear-headed and cogent analysis of how High-Stakes Standards-Based (HSSB) tests affect student learning, teacher training, curriculum and instruction, and school administration and leadership. Covers the origins and history of the current testing movement and analyzes how the proper balance of standardized tests, curriculum standards, and locally controlled variables (socioeconomic status, class size, teacher attitudes) can help schools focus their energies for maximum effect and build bridges from test anxiety to better learning and better schools.

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

"Dr. Solomon's latest is, once again, a gem.  The Assessment Bridge offers a wealth of concrete tools and examples to support schools, administrators, and teachers in providing meaningful student learning experiences in (and despite) a high-stakes testing environment.  Her reflections and inquiry on her own teaching and learning experiences are woven throughout, and present a unique context and historical perspective that somehow make this task possible.  It will be high on my list of recommended resource books."

Alysan Slighter, Associate in Education Improvement Services
New York State Education Department

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