chapter  1
20 Pages

Large-Scale Assessments for All Students: Issues and Options: Gerald Tindal

Standardized, large-scale assessment clearly has proliferated in the past 10 to 20 years

and is prominent in all 50 states. These testing programs are increasingly complex and

include a number of subject areas and testing formats, including multiple-choice tests and

various types of performance assessments. Although the public press may appear to be

negative on testing, in fact, Phelps (1998) reported in an extensive summary of 70

surveys that have been conducted over the past 30 years that “the majorities in favor of

more testing, more high stakes testing, or higher stakes in testing have been large, often

very large, and fairly consistent over the years, across the polls and surveys and even

across respondent groups” (p. 14). Not only has assessment proliferated and been

supported in the United States, but also throughout the world. A clear trend exists toward

more, not less, large-scale testing programs. “Twenty-seven countries show a net increase

in testing, while only three show a decrease. Fifty-nine testing programs have been added

while only four have been dropped” (Phelps, 2000). In summary, large-scale testing has

been on the rise and is supported by the public.