chapter  7
37 Pages


Measuring What Matters
ByJeannie Oakes, Martin Lipton, Lauren Anderson, Jamy Stillman

This chapter discusses some concepts and vocabulary commonly associated with assessment. It provides a brief history of assessment, focusing on the nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century development of testing to determine intelligence. The chapter describes the modern descendants of early intelligence quotient tests, standardized achievement tests, and focuses on what goes on inside classrooms, illustrating how assessment can foster learning and social justice. In the early 1800s, large urban "monitorial" schools also had students do recitations to demonstrate their mastery of facts and skills. Psychologists and educators alike agreed that scientific tests enabled teachers to address students' particular mental capacities and prepare them for particular social roles based on those capacities. Because norm-referenced tests aim to place students precisely within peer groups, the tests are designed to spread scores out over a wide range, so there will be enough difference among test takers to rank them. The two most well-known types of norm-referenced tests are aptitude tests and achievement tests.