It’s time to move our assessment practices from the 1950s to the century we’re living in. It’s time to invest in our teachers and local school leaders instead of in more tests. It’s time to help all students understand how to unleash their strengths and gain a sense of themselves as learners capable of choosing their own paths to success.
In The Perfect Assessment System, Rick Stiggins calls for the ground-up redevelopment of assessment in U.S. education. Speaking from more than 40 years of experience in the field—and speaking for all learners who hope to succeed, the teachers who want them to succeed, and the local school leaders whose aspirations for success have been thwarted by assessment traditions—Stiggins maps out the adjustments in practice and culture necessary to generate both accurate accountability data and the specific evidence of individual mastery that will support sound instructional decision making and better learning in the classroom. He addresses
- Assessment purpose—how (and why) to clarify the reason for every assessment and the users it will serve.
- Learning targets to be assessed—how to make sure we focus on the right competencies and set consistent definitions of success.
- Assessment quality—how to ensure every assessment, at every level, is an excellent one.
- Communication of assessment results—how to share information in ways that best support diverse purposes.
- Assessment impact—how to link assessment to truly productive, universal student motivation.
We have not yet begun to explore assessment’s true potential to enhance both school quality and student well-being. Stiggins kicks off this critical conversation and charts a course for a new system that promises much higher levels of student success at a fraction of our current testing costs. The door is open for assessment reform; here is a bold plan for getting it right.
What Others Are Saying
At a time when there is increasing concern in many sectors of the educational system about the amount and utility of educational testing, Rick Stiggins poses a critical question: “If we were unconstrained by our historic testing legacy, what kind of system might we create?” In this compelling book, Stiggins presents a powerful call to action for an assessment system that works for everyone, and he lays out the pathway to get us there. This is a must-read book for anyone concerned with ensuring effective assessment in the service of all students’ learning. –Margaret Heritage, Educational Consultant
Here is the heresy of Rick Stiggins’s book: He tells the truth. He sees the corrupting influence of the expensive, wasteful misapplication of assessments and the lack of a coherent system. Then he asks all the right questions. What might we create to serve student academic success and student well-being? What systems could satisfy the information needs of all instructional decision makers all year long? What if assessment didn’t just identify problems but could also be used to solve them? It’s time for a revolution, and The Perfect Assessment System makes a powerful battle flag. Charge! –Lily Eskelsen Garcia, President of the National Education Association
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