2014 Testing


Bursting the Bubbles: Reassessing Assessments
For Journalists Only

Since the advent of No Child Left Behind 12 years ago, standardized, fill-in-the-bubble tests have become a major part of the school experience. Some say too much of a part. 

But beyond the debate over how much schools test, major changes are under way in how they test. Underlying those changes are questions about just what they’re testing for.   

How can assessments get beyond rote memorization and capture the skills most valued in college and work? Can they judge how well students work together and communicate their ideas? Can tests measure critical thinking and creativity? Will tests tied to the Common Core State Standards provide a richer picture of how students stack up?

This journalists-only seminar will be held Nov. 18 - 19 at Stanford University. In addition to exploring the nuances of covering testing and assessment, participants will have the opportunity to visit Impact Academy in Hayward, Calif., which has implemented a student-centered learning and a portfolio model of assessing academic progress.

Questions? Call or email Lori Crouch at 202-452-9830 or lcrouch@ewa.org.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

More Than Fun: Games That Gauge Student Learning

Flickr/Michael Surran

Games might provide a better way for teachers to figure out what students know.

Some say this playful format can provide teachers with serious information if the games are intentionally designed to assess learning. This can be used to develop a more nuanced portrait of a student’s skills. And sometimes students don’t know they are being tested.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Common Core Tests: Ready Or Not?

Students at Birch Elementary School in Reading, Mass. (Flickr/Heather Johnson, EOE)

From California to New York, educators have by and large maintained their support for the Common Core State Standards after putting the new grade-level expectations into action. But the new tests are another story, according to a panel of experts speaking at a recent EWA seminar at Stanford University.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Showing – Not Just Telling – Stories About Testing

An illustration accompanying a sample question from the new Smarter Balanced 11th-grade mathematics test. (Source: Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium)

By now, many education reporters have written many times over about a new generation of standardized tests coming this spring. Most of the time, reporters have little space and use shorthand to explain that the exams are supposed to be more rigorous and measure critical thinking. Often, there is too much telling and not enough showing.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

The Limits of Testing: Getting Beyond the Standard(ized) Story

Wealthy students have long outpaced their disadvantaged peers in American schools. That disparity bears more weight than ever as standardized tests become one of the main measures for holding schools and teachers accountable.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Impact Academy: Rethinking Student Assessment

Sophie Wellington at Impact Academy, Nov. 19, 2014. (EWA/Lori Crouch)

On a recent Wednesday morning, 11th-grader Sophia Wellington took to the undersized stage at the front of her high school gym and with seamless poise demonstrated what smarter student assessment could look like.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

To Fight Test Fatigue, Scholars Call for Fewer, Harder Exams

Source: Flickr/Wonderlane (CC BY 2.0)

Here’s a counter-intuitive argument: The United States should spend more money on standardized tests.

With opposition to the new Common Core State Standards and the assessments linked to them reaching a fever pitch, advocating for better tests seems like an unpopular proposition. But what if U.S. students took fewer tests that measured their ability to understand academic concepts far more deeply than current tests permit?

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Stand and Deliver: A School Where Students Defend Their Work

On Day 2 of "Bursting the Bubbles: Reassessing Assessments," journalists took a field trip to Impact Academy. (EWA/Emily Richmond)

Education journalists took a field trip to Impact Academy of Arts and Technology this week to see project-based learning in action, including observing classrooms and watching a student defend her project on World War II and the Holocaust. Check out some Tweets from the visiting reporters, as well as more highlights from the first day at the EWA seminar at Stanford University. (Also, check out this earlier blog post about our testing seminar.)

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Tweeting on Testing: EWA Seminar at Stanford

Reporters got a feel for standardized assessments at EWA's seminar on testing at Stanford Tuesday. (EWA/Mikhail Zinshteyn)

How can assessments get beyond rote memorization and capture the skills most valued to prepare young people for college and the workforce? Can tests effectively measure critical thinking and creativity? Will standardized tests tied to the Common Core provide a richer picture of student learning?