chapter  16
13 Pages

Formative versus Summative Assessments as Measures of

ByStudent Learning

One can make a case that No Child Left Behind (NCLB) raised the emphasis on assessing and reporting student academic achievement to new levels. Guilfoyle (2006) chronicles the history of NCLB and its heavy reliance on testing. She notes: “The original law provided funding to school districts to help low-income students. Today, NCLB holds Title I schools that receive . . . federal money accountable by requiring them to meet proficiency targets on annual assessments” (p. 8). Guilfoyle (2006) describes the position of the U.S. Department of Education as follows:

Assessment systems currently in use to fulfill the requirements of NCLB might best be described as “status oriented” in that they reflect the percentage of students who are at specific levels of achievement. Presumably the reason for using a status orientation is to provide no excuse for failure; regardless of the background characteristics of students, regardless of when students enter a particular school, all are expected to succeed. Theoretically, following the basic sentiment of NCLB, a district or school should have or at least approach 100% of students passing every state test at every grade level.