Policy and Validity Prospects for Performance-Based Assessment

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High interest in performance-based assessment of educational achievement is indicated by recent conferences, special journal issues, and national television coverage. The president's and governors' educational goals reflect the central role of assessment in reform. A prominent view is that changes in assessment, using more complex, meaningful, and integrative performance tasks, will improve education. New assessments present challenges to the curriculum, teaching practices, and presentation of student achievement information to policymakers and to the public. Sufficient high-quality assessments must be available before their impact on educational reform can be assessed. Although interest in performance-based assessment is high, our knowledge about its quality is low. Moreover, few psychometric templates exist to guide the technical practices of assessment developers.

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