Reforming Achievement Testing to Promote Students’ Learning
America is awash in a tide of educational reform movements. The impetus for changes and the specific targets of reform vary tremendously among schools across the country but one overarching goal is to improve the quality of students’ thinking-to promote a critical, thoughtful orientation to academic subjects that students generalize to situations beyond school. Ironically, these innovative reforms may fail for the same basic reason; they may show no significant gains in the standardized achievement test scores of students. The tragic misuse of standardized achievement tests as evaluation instruments for diverse educational reforms may thwart improvements, stifle the creativity of teachers, and deprive students of important opportunities to develop their talents.