Test Industry Split Over Formative'Assessment
Monty Neill comment:
Seems like only Advanced Systems, whose president Stuart Kahl has written good pieces on formative assessment as Ed Wee ads, is the only test company taking a clear stand against turning formative assessment into 'benchmark' or 'interim' mini-tests to use in cashing in on the NCLB-enforced testing boom.
I was reminded how in the 1990s, advocates of a range of high-quality sources of evidence of student learning insisted on using the term assessment. Soon enough, test companies declared all their tests were 'assessments' or 'assessment tests,' and SAT even used that latter term in its name, before they decided SAT stood for nothing.
It's hard to hang onto meaning in the Orwellian world of advertizing in which money buys the definition of words, a useful power for confusion and profiteering.
by Scott J. Cech
ThereĂ˘€™s a war of sorts going on within the normally staid assessment industry, and itĂ˘€™s a war over the definition of a type of assessment that many educators understand in only the sketchiest fashion.
Formative assessments, also known as Ă˘€śclassroom assessments,Ă˘€ť are in some ways easier to define by what they are not. TheyĂ˘€™re not like the long, year-end, state-administered, standardized, No Child Left Behind Act-required exams that testing professionals call Ă˘€śsummative.Ă˘€ť Nor are they like the shorter, middle-of-the-year assessments referred to as Ă˘€śbenchmarkĂ˘€ť or Ă˘€śinterimĂ˘€ť assessments.
Or they shouldnĂ˘€™t be, at least according to experts inside and outside the testing industry, who believe that truly Ă˘€śformativeĂ˘€ť assessments must blend seamlessly into classroom instruction itself. . . .
Later, the article indicates that "tests, test delivery, scoring, scoring analysis, professional development, and other services, but not such bundled products as textbooks, accounted for about 30 percent of the $2.1 billion in overall assessment revenue generated in the United States in the 2006-07 academic yearĂ˘€”the most recent year for which statistics are available."
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Scott J. Cech
INDEX OF NCLB OUTRAGES