chapter  10
Performance Assessment Using Complex Tasks: Implications for Children With High-Incidence Disabilities
Pages 22

In the United States, the practice of assessment in the public schools often mirrors important trends in our nation’s values and goals. At the beginning of the 20th century, for example, with public commitment to the principles of democracy strong, compulsory school attendance laws combined with liberal immigration policies to create precipitous increases in the size and diversity of the public school population (Hendrick & MacMillan, 1984). At the same time, however, the industrialization of America’s growing cities introduced pressures for schools to produce a better-qualified labor force. The business community, therefore, issued calls for efficiency in the schooling process to promote steady student progress through the grades and to reduce dropout rates (Callahan, 1962). These goals, which competed with urban schools’ increasing size and diversity, were served by and reflected in the introduction of aptitude testing in schools to track low-ability students into separate classes (Hendrick & MacMillan, 1989).