Annotated Bibliography: Performance Assessment

American Psychological Association Presidential Task Force on Psychology in Education and Mid-continent Regional Educational Laboratory. (1993). Learner-Centered Principles for School Reform. Washington, DC: APA (Office of Psychology in Education, Education Directorate, APA, 750 First St., NE, Washington, DC 20002).

    Includes principles for developing and using student-centered performance assessments that can enhance the learning process. Calls for consulting and involving students in the design of assessment systems. Principles also cover cognitive, affective, developmental, personal and social factors of learning, and their implications for school redesign and reform.

Archbald, D. and F. Newmann. (1988). Beyond Standardized Testing: Assessing Authentic Academic Achievement in the Secondary School. Reston, VA: National Association of Secondary School Principals.

    Discusses authentic academic achievement, how to assess it, and how to implement assessment programs. Considers secondary school and college-level assessment alternatives currently in place. Appendix includes a critique of standardized tests. Authors also have chapters in Berlak, below. (1904 Association Dr., Reston, VA 22091).

Ball, A. F. (1993). Incorporating Ethnographic-Based Techniques to Enhance Assessments of Culturally Diverse Students’ Written Exposition. Educational Assessment (1)3, 255-281.

    Explains the need to include ethnographic-based approaches in writing assessments of culturally and linguistically diverse populations, in order for teachers to better understand and work with a broad range of students. Discusses as an example of this approach the assessment of eight students’ essays.

Barrs, M. et al. (1988). Primary Language Record. Portsmouth, NH: Heineman (361 Hanover St., Portsmouth, NH 03801-3912, (800) 541-2086).

    Provides an excellent, succinct explanation of how and why children acquire literacy and how to document and assess their literacy behaviors. Integrates instruction and assessment of literacy from a whole language perspective. Developed for use with multilingual school populations. Top-notch comprehensive handbook serves as a text on whole language. Includes sample recording forms. A somewhat different handbook, adapted for U.S. use, is the California Learning Record (see below).

    Note: A variety of materials based on the PLR are discussed in this bibliography. See: California Learning Record; Cooper & Barr; Darling-Hammond, Ancess & Falk; Falk & Darling-Hammond; Falk, MacMurdy & Darling-Hammond; and Hester.

Baxter, G.P., Glaser, R., & Raghavan, K. (1994). Analysis of Cognitive Demand in Selected Alternative Science Assessments. CSE Technical Report 382 (see CRESST, at Organizations, below).

    Research concluding that constructing high-quality tasks that will spur deeper thinking in and across subject areas is quite difficult. Tasks need to be subject to careful review, including interviewing students, itself a difficult process.

Berlak, H., et al. (1992). Toward a New Science of Educational Testing and Assessment. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.

    Eight essays discuss why assessment must change. Provides examples of changing assessment in math and social studies, as well as more general discussions of assessment methods and approaches in the U.S. and England. Proposes a new structure for assessment systems, focusing on portfolios and documenting student work.

Burke, K. (1993). The Mindful School: How to Assess Authentic Learning. Palatine, IL: IRI/Skylight Publishing.

    An easy-to-read introduction to classroom assessment. Compensates for lack of depth with wide range of assessment options, plus many graphics and examples.

Burton, E. & Linn, R. (1994). Comparability Across Assessments: Lessons from the Use of Moderation Procedures in England. Los Angeles, CA: Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing. CSE Technical Report 369 (see CRESST, at Organizations, below).

    A detailed look at several methods of establishing comparability among performance assessments which involve bringing readers closer to agreement, termed “moderation.”

California Assessment Collaborative. (1993). Charting the Course Toward Instructionally Sound Assessment: A Report of the Alternative Assessment Pilot Project. San Francisco: Author.

    Summarizes and analyzes work of nearly 20 California school district projects in implementing performance assessment. Provides a conceptual map of essential elements and narratives of various experiences. Includes a thoughtful discussion of the costs and benefits of performance assessment. Implications of changing assessments on education as a whole are discussed in the conclusion. (WestEd, 730 Harrison St., San Francisco, CA 94107; $8.00).

California Learning Record. (1994). El Cajon: Center for Language in Learning. Adapted from Barrs, et al., Primary Language Record (see above). (CLL, 10610 Quail Canyon Rd., El Cajon CA 92021; (619) 443-6320.)

    CLR provides handbooks for teachers in grades K-6 and 6-12, forms for documenting student learning, and scales and directions for evaluation and gauging student progress. The forms and scales are now available in Spanish, making them more useful in classrooms in which Spanish is spoken and for working with Spanish-speaking parents.

California State Department of Education. (1989). A Question of Thinking: A First Look at Students’ Performance on Open-Ended Questions in Mathematics. Sacramento, CA: Author.

    Reviews student responses to open-ended math tasks from the 1987-88 grade twelve California Assessment Program. Tasks were designed to emphasize written communication in math, and this book’s purpose is to help teachers use the assessment to guide instruction to that end. Student misconceptions are analyzed and corresponding instructional recommendations are made. One chapter is devoted to how scoring rubrics were developed, but little attention is paid to how questions were developed.

California Department of Education. (1994-1995). A Sampler of Science Assessment. (1994). A Sampler of Science Assessment: Elementary: Preliminary Edition. Sacramento, CA: Author.

    The bulk of these books is made up of tasks and student responses from the California Learning Assessment System (CLAS), for grades five, eight and ten. They emphasize how and why responses should be/were scored, as well as how rubrics were developed. Includes hands-on performance tasks, open-ended response items and “enhanced” multiple-choice questions.

Calfee, R. C. & Perfumo, P. (1993). Student Portfolios and Teacher Logs: Blueprint for a Revolution in Assessment. Berkeley, CA: University of California, National Center for the Study of Writing.

    Looks at some problems with large-scale uses of classroom literacy portfolios, particularly inconsistency of information and lack of a rigorous technical base to support large-scale use. Proposes a method for systematizing the collection and evaluation of work that enables classroom flexibility and individualization of portfolios and teacher decision-making with standardization of summary information.

Carini, P. F. (1994). Dear Sister Bess: An Essay on Standards, Judgement and Writing. Assessing Writing, 1(1), 29-65.

    Interesting article on assessing writing in the classroom that is also a personal reflection from a leading voice in portfolio assessment. Shows how standards can emerge for each student writer through her own work. Argues standardized assessments remove context and personhood, and externally-imposed standards could cause the same with performance assessment.

Carstens, L. (1993). From the Bottom Up: A Sourcebook of Scoring Rubrics Designed by Teachers. San Diego, CA: San Diego City Schools.

    Developing high quality scoring guides, or rubrics, is difficult, and good ones are rare. This book contains some of high quality.

Cooper, W., & Barr, M. (1995). The Primary Language Record & The California Learning Record in Use. El Cajon, CA: Center for Language in Learning (see California Learning Record, above).

    “Proceedings from the PLR/CLR International Seminar” contain a set of articles, many written by teachers, on the early years of implementing the PLR/CLR in classrooms in London, New York City, and California. Articles examine parent involvement, using PLR/CLR across the curriculum, equal opportunity, professional development, bilingual students, student self-assessment, and the use of the instruments for accountability. An excellent companion to other pieces on the PLR/CLR (see also Barrs, et al., above).

Council for Exceptional Children. (1995). Performance Assessment and Students with Disabilities. 1920 Association Drive, Reston, VA 20191; (800) 232-7323.

    A “mini-library” from CEC containing four articles providing theory and practical information for teachers and teacher educators. Authors are L. Fuchs; S. Elliott; M. Thurlow; and M. McLaughlin & S. Warren.

Darling-Hammond, L., Ancess, J., & Falk, B. (1995). Authentic Assessment in Action: Studies of Schools and Students at Work. New York: Teachers College Press.

    Powerful set of case studies on the development of performance assessments and their positive effects on the schools which use them — three high schools and two elementary schools, all but one in New York City. Cases are: Graduation by Portfolio at Central Park East Secondary School; The Senior Project at Hodgson Vocational Technical School (in Delaware); Collaborative Learning and Assessment at International High School; The Primary Language Record at P.S. 261; The Bronx New School. The first and last chapters frame the discussion and draw implications.

Darling-Hammond, L., Einbender, L., Frelow, F., & Ley-King, J. (1993). Authentic Assessment in Practice: A Collection of Performance Tasks, Exhibitions, and Documentation. New York, NY: NCREST (see Organizations, below).

    Useful compilation of methods for collecting and evaluating student work, divided into three sections. “Performance Tasks and Exhibitions” includes a general explanation of performance assessment, a piece on how to design tasks, and task plans for various subject areas and cross-disciplinary assessments. “Portfolios” looks at state (Vermont), school (high school graduation) and classroom examples. “Documentation of Learning Over Time” includes discussion of the Primary Language Record (see Barrs, et al., above) and California Learning Record (see above) and other classroom documentation practices.

Diversity and Equity in Assessment Network (DEAN). (1993). Guidelines for Equitable Assessment. Cambridge, MA: FairTest.

    A brief set of guidelines for fairness in assessment. Includes recommendations for use of performance assessment, with cautions to ensure equity. (Free from FairTest with SASE.)

Edelsky, C. & Harman, S. (1988). One More Critique of Testing – With Two Differences. English Education. Oct., pp. 157-171.

    Excellent summary of many problems with standardized tests, suggests appropriate assessment procedures to meet the different needs of: parents, teachers and students; the public and elected officials; and researchers.

Educational Assessment.

    A quarterly academic journal with a primary focus on performance assessment. (Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers, Mahwah, NJ. Editor: Robert Calfee, Stanford University).

Educational Leadership. (1989). Redirecting Assessment. (46)7, April.

    Includes 17 short articles on developing alternative assessments, providing a wide range of introductory materials useful for understanding alternatives theoretically and in practice.

Educational Leadership. (1992). Using Performance Assessment. (49)8, May.

    This issue focuses entirely on performance assessment. 19 articles are divided into three sections: “Using Performance Assessment,” “Using Portfolios,” and “Synthesis of Research.” This updates April 1989 issue. (See ASCD, at Organizations, below).

Estrin, E. T. (1993). “Alternative Assessment: Issues in Language, Culture, and Equity.”

Knowledge Brief, #11. San Francisco: WestEd (see Organizations, below).

    Summary of many important issues in the current assessment reform movement. Provides information for considering equity issues. Notes that all assessment presumes cultural experiences and values. Recommends portfolio and performance assessments in the multilingual or multicultural classroom, but cautions that such assessment may not be compatible with social experiences and community practices for some students.

Estrin, E.T., & Nelson-Barber, S. (1995). Issues in Cross Cultural Assessment: American Indian and Alaska Native Students. San Francisco: WestEd (see Organizations, below).

    This “Knowledge Brief” covers areas similar to Nelson-Barber & Estrin (cited below) with a focus on assessment.

FairTest. (1993). Bibliography on Testing and Evaluating Young Children. Cambridge, MA: Author. (See FairTest order form, last page).

    Annotated bibliography contains entries on standardized tests and performance assessments for children from pre-school through grade three.

FairTest. (1995). Selected Annotated Bibliography on Language Minority Assessment. Cambridge, MA: Author. (See FairTest order form, last page).

    Includes both more detailed annotations of material on performance assessment for students who are learning English and articles critical of standardized tests used on limited English proficient students.

FairTest. (1991). Standardized Tests and Our Children: A Guide to Testing Reform. Cambridge, MA: Author. (See FairTest order form, last page).

    A 32-page, easy-to-read pamphlet which explains what standardized tests are, how they are used, what’s wrong with them, and alternative ways to evaluate students. Also includes sections on parents’ rights, testing terms, and what you can do. Available in Spanish and English; special New York edition available in both languages.

FairTest Examiner. (See FairTest order form, last page).

    Quarterly newsletter from FairTest surveys developments in testing and testing reform, including pre-school, elementary & secondary school, IQ, university admissions and employment testing. Contains regular discussions of performance assessments.

Falk, B. and Darling-Hammond, L. (1993). The Primary Language Record at P.S. 261: How

Assessment Transforms Teaching and Learning. New York: NCREST (see Organizations, below).

    Reports in detail on one New York City school’s very positive experiences using the PLR (see Barrs, et al., above). Describes student-centered classroom activities that provide rich information about individual learning, the principal’s critical role, and the ways teaching was improved and home-school relations strengthened. Warns that traditional school structure does not provide time needed for implementation of the PLR.

Falk, B., MacMurdy, S., & Darling-Hammond, L. (1995). Taking a Different Look: How the Primary Language Record Supports Teaching for Diverse Learners. New York: NCREST (see Organizations, below).

    Discusses how the PLR can be used to improve instruction for students with limited English proficiency, with special needs, from low-income or minority group backgrounds. The impact on instruction and placement decisions is noted. Contains many concrete examples from student records and teacher interviews. A useful complement to the PLR (see Barrs, above).

Garcia, G.E., & Pearson, P.D. (1994). Assessment and Diversity. In Darling-Hammond, L., Review of Research in Education. Washington, DC: American Educational Research Association.

    Demonstrates harm caused by standardized test use with language minority students. Examines variety of performance assessment practices, in the classroom and for accountability, exploring advantages and potential difficulties. Concludes that changes in assessment are needed, but professional development and political changes are required to support the reforms.

Gardner, H. (1991). Assessment in Context: The Alternative to Standardized Testing. In B. Gifford & M.C. O’Connor, eds., Cognitive Approaches to Assessment. Boston: Kluwer Academic.

    Detailed discussion of alternatives rooted in students’ classroom work and recent scientific understandings. Gardner has published many articles and books on assessment. The book has a number of other articles of potential interest.

Gearheart, M., Herman, J., Baker, E. L., & Whittaker, A. K. (1993). Whose Work Is It? A Question for the Validity of Large-Scale Portfolio Assessment. Los Angeles, CA: Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing, CSE Technical Report 363 (see CRESST at Organizations, below).

    Discusses how student collaboration, teacher-student collaboration and outside help for students raise issues for use of portfolios in large-scale assessments.

Glazer, S. M. & Brown, S. B. (1993). Portfolios and Beyond: Collaborative Assessment in Reading and Writing. Norwood, MA: Christopher-Gordon Publishers.

    Provides “how to” assessment information, addressing “Why Change?” in the first chapter, “Questions Teachers Ask” in the last, and issues such as student-teacher collaboration throughout. The theoretical assumptions about literacy acquisition and the approach to instruction are non-traditional and informative.

Goodman, K. S., Bird, L. B., & Goodman, Y. M. (1992). The Whole Language Catalogue: Supplement on Authentic Assessment. Santa Rosa, CA: SRA School Group.

    This guide, primarily for teachers, includes contributions from expert researchers, teachers, principals, parents and students. The combination of viewpoints creates a comprehensive, powerful picture of literacy assessment that is integrated with teaching and learning. Assessment tools are discussed in detail in various categories — conferences and interviews, anecdotal records, checklists, learning logs, learning portfolios, and parent-teacher communication. Sections on student and teacher self-evaluation are valuable. Examples are plentiful.

Grace, C. & Shores, E. F. (1994). The Portfolio and Its Uses: Developmentally Appropriate Assessment of Young Children, 3rd edition. Little Rock: Southern Early Childhood Association (P.O. Box 5403, Brady Stn., Little Rock, AR 72215; $10).

    Provides an excellent, detailed look at how and why to organize young children’s assessment around the portfolio. Sections include using the portfolio in evaluating children and in communicating with parents.

Harman, S. (1992). “Snow White and the Seven Warnings: Threats to Authentic Evaluation.” Reading Teacher. November, pp. 22-25.

    How traditional testing ideas and practices — such as norm-referencing, aggregating data, calibrating assessments, and new commercial products that are touted as authentic but are little more than recycled basal readers — can undermine performance assessment.

Hein, G. E., ed. (1990). The Assessment of Hands-on Elementary Science Programs. Grand Forks, ND: North Dakota Study Group on Evaluation.

    Eleven chapters discuss assessment theory, large-scale assessments, and classroom assessment with elementary schoolchildren. Contains many examples and details. (Box 8158, University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, ND 58202; $12 plus 15% handling).

Hester, H., et al. (1993). Guide to the Primary Learning Record. London: Center for Language in Learning. (Available from FairTest for $30).

    Very valuable tool for documenting and assessing the process and content of student learning. Includes sections for the subjects mandated by the British national curriculum: the “core” subjects (most detailed for language/English, math, and science); the “foundation” subjects (art, geography, history, physical education, and technology), and religious education. The PLeR language arts section is a condensed version of the PLR (see Barrs, et al., above). PLeR contains a Guide and record-keeping forms. Adapting PLeR to the U.S. will require making basic decisions about standards or curriculum that can be used to define the content to be assessed.

High Scope Educational Research Foundation. (1992). Child Observation Record. Ypsilanti, MI: Author.

    Manual and forms for developmentally appropriate, ongoing observation and assessment of children 2-1/2 through 6 years of age. Provides examples of behaviors that can be recorded in each of six categories; describes various forms of performance assessment.

Hill, B.C., & Ruptic, C. (1994). Practical Aspects of Authentic Assessment. Norwood, MA: Christopher-Gordon.

    This large volume is intended as a practical guide to elementary school classroom assessment. Focuses on literacy, includes chapters on assessing in content areas, assessing special needs students, student self-assessment, parent involvement, and reporting. Contains many examples and reproducible materials for observation, documentation, portfolios, evaluations.

Hill, C. and Larsen, E. (1993). Testing and Assessment in Secondary Education: A Critical Review of Emerging Practices. Berkeley, CA: National Center on Research on Vocational Education (NCRVE Materials Distribution, Western Illinois Univ., 46 Horrabin Hall, Macomb, IL 61455; (800) 637-7652; #MDS-237, $6.50).

    Wide-ranging discussion of authentic assessment focuses on two major approaches — alternative testing and documentation. Each is subjected to careful analysis, with examples from current assessments. While supporting authentic assessment, the authors question some claims for its benefits and point to a range of difficulties.

International Reading Association and National Council of Teachers of English. (1994). Standards for the Assessment of Reading and Writing. Newark, DE, and Urbana, IL: Authors.

    These standards call for performance assessment that is integrated with teaching and learning, places the needs of the student first, is equitable, does not have harmful consequences, involves multiple perspectives and multiple forms of data, and is based in a school community in which all members have a voice in assessment.

Johnston, P. H. (1992). Constructive Evaluation of Literate Activity. New York: Longman.

    Based on student-centered learning and assessment, contains detailed discussions of portfolios, observational checklists and dialogue journals. Has thorough instructions, accompanied by an audiotape for practice, for using “Running Records” to assess reading.. Includes a strong section on “What We Value in Evaluation,” which places validity, fairness and reporting in the context of what is valued, primarily important individual learning and thoughtful, personalized teaching.

Johnston, P. (1987). Teachers as Evaluation Experts. The Reading Teacher. April, pp. 744-748.

    Discusses the fact that teachers can and do evaluate and urges more help for teachers so that they can become evaluation experts.

Kentucky Department of Education, Office of Assessment and Accountability. (1994). Kentucky Mathematics Portfolio: Teacher’s Guide. Frankfort, KY: Author.

    Designed to guide Kentucky teachers into portfolio assessment, this comprehensive handbook covers theory, contents, development, scoring and task ideas. Outlines types of entries to include (e.g., interdisciplinary; writing), explains core math concepts students are expected to learn and corresponding evidence of meeting expectation. Presents task ideas for grades 5 and 8 and high school, accompanied by “Criteria for Appropriate Portfolio Tasks.” Includes state’s holistic scoring guide, with instructions for use. Concludes with a “Q&A” for teachers.

Koelsch, N., Estrin, E. T., & Farr, B. (1995). Guide to Developing Equitable Performance Assessments. San Francisco: WestEd (see Organizations, below).

    Useful booklet provides background information on equity in assessment, including linguistic and cultural issues and connecting assessment to local context; strategies for developing performance tasks, with examples drawn from assessments used with American Indian students; and guidelines for workshops on the topic, including thoughtful questions for examining tasks. Contains five good criteria for “authentic” assessments, ways to reduce bias, and ways to think about equity.

Kulm, G. (1994). Mathematics Assessment: What Works in the Classroom. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

    A comprehensive book on assessing math in the classroom. Starts with the purposes of assessment (based largely on the NCTM Standards, see below) and goals for teaching and learning. Part 2 explains how to plan and design a variety of assessments, for individuals and groups, including performance tasks, investigations, journals, portfolios, interviews, student self-assessment, and scoring. Part 3 presents classroom assessment models based on actual cases.

LeMahieu, P., Gitomer, D., Eresh, J. (1995) Portfolios in Large Scale Assessment: Difficult But Not Impossible. Educational Measurement: Issues and Practices. 14(3), Fall.

    Analyzes success of Pittsburgh’s writing portfolio assessment as an accountability tool. Shows portfolios can allow for student choice in selecting materials, diversity in content and variety in classroom work, and still obtain sufficient reliability for public accounting. Portfolios support high quality classroom practice, help reveal actual instructional practices and student opportunity to learn.

Linn, R. L., Baker, E. L., & Dunbar, S. B. (1991). Complex, Performance-based Assessment: Expectations and Validation Criteria. Educational Researcher, November, pp. 15-21.

    Influential effort to rethink the criteria for judging the quality of educational assessments to meet the rise of performance assessment and more complex understandings of validity. Proposed criteria include consequences, fairness, generalizability, cognitive complexity, content quality and coverage, meaningfulness, and cost. To some extent, the criteria presume discrete assessments, rather than a continuous assessment process.

Maryland Assessment Consortium. 1994-1995. Performance Assessment Tasks. Frederick, MD: Author.

    The Consortium has a growing number of tasks in a variety of subject areas, compiled in 3-ring binders. Tasks are selected in part for use in assessing the Maryland State Learning Outcomes, but have wider value. Vol. 6 is the best of their elementary school tasks, Vol. 7 the best for middle school. Available for sale or on a site-licensure basis, and will be on CD-ROM disk. (c/o Frederick County Public Schools, 115 E. Church St., Frederick, MD 21701; (301) 694-1337).

    Mathematical Sciences Education Board, National Research Council. (1993). Measuring What Counts: A Conceptual Guide for Mathematics Assessment. Washington, DC: National Academy Press. In-depth discussion of mathematics curriculum and the role of assessment in education, coupled with good examples of individual assessment tasks, group activities and performance exams. Also covers task design, scoring and reporting.

McCollum, S. L. (1994). Performance Assessment in the Social Studies Classroom: A How-To Book for Teachers. Joplin, MO: Chalk Dust Press.

    Describes a host of classroom activities that can be turned into assessment opportunities, and how to do so. Some activities are of mediocre quality and the suggested scoring rubrics tend to be somewhat sparse and superficial, but the book is useful as it is one of the few devoted only to social studies.

McColskey, W. & O’Sullivan, R. (1993). How to Assess Student Performance in Science: Going Beyond Multiple-Choice Tests. Greensboro: SC: SouthEastern Regional Vision for Education (SERVE).

    Useful level of detail on how to create and score science assessments, including informal and formal observation, journals, performance tasks and open-ended questions. Provides examples of tasks and systems.

McDonald, J. P., Smith, S., Turner, D., Finney, M., & Barton, E. (1993). Graduation by Exhibition: Assessing Genuine Achievement. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. (See ASCD, at Organizations, below).

    Discusses Coalition of Essential Schools idea of using exhibitions as a basis for determining high school graduation. Teachers provide four case studies (using essays, position papers, multi-media presentations, and Socratic seminars) of how to use exhibitions to “plan backwards” toward school reform. Having defined what students should be able to do, reform involves reshaping the school to best help students meet the goal. Discusses obstacles and setbacks as well as accomplishments and progress.

McLaughlin, B., Gesi Blanchard, A., & Osanai, Y. (1995). Assessing Language Development in Bilingual Preschool Children. Washington, DC: National Clearinghouse for Bilingual Education, Program Information Guide Series, No. 22.

    Provides an introduction to various routes to language acquisition, points out the limitations of standardized tests, and offers guidelines for assessing bilingual children, calling for instructionally embedded assessment. Outlines the California Early Language Development Assessment Process, which utilizes a series of steps: planning assessment; collecting information through observation and documentation; developing a portfolio; writing a narrative summary; meeting with family and staff; and developing curriculum and instruction based on the needs found in the assessment.

Meisels, S. J. (1992). The Work Sampling System. Ann Arbor: Rebus Planning Associates (1103 S. University Ave., Ann Arbor, MI 48104; 1-800-435-3085).

    Provides performance assessment methods for evaluating young children from age 3 through grade 3, utilizing developmental checklists, portfolios and summary reports. All parts are classroom-focused. Now used in hundreds of schools.

Medina, N. and Neill, D. M. (1990). Fallout from the Testing Explosion: How 100 Million Standardized Exams Undermine Equity and Excellence in America’s Public Schools. Cambridge, MA: FairTest, third edition. (See order form, last page).

    Includes: survey on extent of test use, analysis of problems with test construction, reliability, validity, administration and bias; and the harmful impact of testing on educational goals, curriculum, student progress and local control of schools. Contains annotated bibliography. (See FairTest order form, last page). For a shorter version, see D. M. Neill and N. J. Medina, “Standardized Testing: Harmful to Educational Health,” Phi Delta Kappan (May 1989) pp. 688-697. (Issue contains several other relevant articles, including Wiggins, below).

Messick, S. (1992). The Interplay of Evidence and Consequences in the Validation of Performance Assessments. Princeton, NJ: Educational Testing Service, RR-92-39.

    Messick, a leading theorist of validity, argues that key concepts of validity can be used to shape and evaluate performance assessments, which should be driven not by tasks but by understanding the construct to be assessed if performance assessments are to measure and promote higher order thinking skills. The focus is on validating assessments used for high-stakes decision-making, such as high school graduation. The discussion is therefore at times helpful, at times misleading for other assessment purposes.

Mitchell, R. (1992). Testing for Learning. New York: Free Press/Macmillan. (Available from FairTest, see order form on last page).

    Comprehensive overview of performance assessments as they are developing in the U.S. Moves from a critique of multiple-choice testing to a wide-ranging study of performance assessments. Discusses writing, math, and science, assessed via portfolios and other methods, using programs in Arizona, California, Maryland and Vermont as examples. Teachers’ roles in assessment and involving parents and the community are also discussed.

Mitchell, R., Willis, M., & Chicago Teachers Union Quest Center. (1995). Learning in Overdrive: Designing Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment from Standards. Golden, CO: North American Press.

    Guide for cooperatively writing and using standards at the school level. Contains clear examples and step-by-step procedures. Though it has a too-narrow approach to the broader question of the purposes of schooling and offers a limited range of assessment practices, it is still worthwhile for teachers, curriculum specialists, and principals.

Morrow, L. M. (1988). Retelling Stories As a Diagnostic Tool. In Glazer, S. M., Searfoss, L. W., & Gentile, L. M, eds., Re-examining Reading Diagnosis. (Newark, DE: International Reading Association).

    Describes the wide range of information teachers can obtain about students’ reading comprehension in a structured discussion, or “re-telling,” of stories. Provides a “how-to” for retelling.

Moss, P. A. (1992). Shifting Conceptions of Validity in Educational Measurement: Implications for Performance Assessment. Review of Educational Research, 62(3), 229-258.

    Argues that expanding the concept of validity to include the consequences of assessment provides support for performance assessment. While validity criteria historically have privileged standardized forms of assessment, researchers, assessors and educators should question the traditional assumptions and principles of validity and expand the ways in which assessment is validated.

Moss, P. A., et al. (1992). Portfolios, Accountability, and an Interpretive Approach to Validity. Educational Measurement: Issues and Practice. (11)3, Fall, pp. 12-21.

    Discusses how individually-varied classroom portfolios, developed by students and teachers, can be used in providing public information. Focus is on classroom and school-level information, but makes suggestions for large-scale assessment. A case study is used to illustrate the development of the portfolio.

Moya, S. S. & O’Malley, J. M. (1994). “A Portfolio Assessment Model for ESL.” The Journal of Educational Issues of Language Minority Students. Spring, pp. 13-36.

    Proposes guidelines for use of portfolio assessment with limited English proficient students in elementary and secondary settings. Provides a rationale for portfolios and includes a portfolio assessment model for English as a Second Language (ESL) classes.

National Association for the Education of Young Children & National Association on Early Childhood Specialists in State Departments of Education. (1991). “Guidelines for Appropriate Curriculum Content and Assessment Programs Serving Children Ages 3 through 8,” Young Children. March, pp. 21-38.

    Excellent set of guidelines for teachers and administrators for developmentally appropriate curricula and assessments for children ages 3-8, including those in special education programs. (Also available from NAEYC, 1509 15th St., NW, Washington, DC 20036).

National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. (1995). Assessment Standards for School Mathematics. Reston, VA: Author.

    Standards state that assessment should reflect important math content, enhance math learning, promote equity, be an open process, promote valid inferences about learning, and be a coherent process. A section on using the standards for different purposes includes examples and discussion of performance tasks, projects and portfolios.

National Education Association. (1993). Student Portfolios. Washington, DC: Author.

    A good complement to more comprehensive works on portfolios, the articles describe a range of experiences with portfolios, including early childhood literacy assessment, high school-wide cross-curricular evaluation sensitive to learning style, and parent-teacher-student collaboration.

National Forum on Assessment (1995). Principles and Indicators for Student Assessment Systems. Cambridge, MA: FairTest. (See FairTest order form, last page).

    Endorsed by many leading education and civil rights organizations, this is a thorough set of principles for developing, reviewing or revising student assessment systems. Seven principles are: primary assessment purpose is to improve learning; other assessment uses must support learning; assessment is fair; professional collaboration and development supports assessment; the community participates in assessment development; communication about assessment is clear; and assessment systems are reviewed and improved. A section on Educational Foundations describes conditions supportive of good assessment.

Navarrete, C., Wilde, J., Nelson, C., Martinez, R., & Hargett, G. (1990). Informal Assessment in Educational Evaluation: Implications for Bilingual Education Programs. Washington, DC: National Clearinghouse for Bilingual Education.

    Presents concerns with standardized testing in bilingual education programs and offers informal assessment techniques as an alternative. Defines informal assessment, describes examples of both structured and unstructured informal assessment, and explains various scoring methods for these assessments. Gives guidelines for using portfolios in bilingual education programs.

Neill, M., Bursh, P., Schaeffer, B., Thall, C., Yohe, M., & Zappardino, P. (1995). Implementing Performance Assessment: A Guide to Classroom, School and System Reform. Cambridge, MA: FairTest. (See FairTest order form, last page).

    This guide from FairTest, written for teachers, administrators and parents, is a comprehensive, systematic look at performance assessments, from classroom to system-wide uses. Describes observations, interviews, work samples, projects, performances, exhibitions, exams, portfolios and learning records. Discusses equity, communication with parents, getting started. Additional chapters focus on use of assessment information in evaluating students, establishing validity, conducting school-level evaluation, and using assessment for accountability. Final chapter is on organizing for change. Includes a lengthy bibliography and list of resources.

Nelson-Barber, S., & Estrin, E.T. (n.d., 1995). Culturally Responsive Mathematics and Science Education for Native Students. San Francisco: WestEd (see Organizations, below).

    Although does not directly focus on assessment, report’s implications are important. Authors detail how ways of knowing are culturally-based, how basing standards and instruction, and thus assessment, on one culture tends both to exclude students from other cultural backgrounds from accessing knowledge and to limit the very conceptions of science and math. If assessment is to serve all students, these issues must be addressed. (See also Estrin & Nelson-Barber, above).

Nettles, M. T. & Nettles, A. L., eds. (1995). Equity and Excellence in Educational Testing and Assessment. Norwell, MA: Kluwer Academic Publishers.

    Papers from 1993 Ford Foundation conference. Provides valuable ideas and information on equity in performance assessment. Offers strong support for use of performance assessments, while exploring potential problems in using them with minority group students. Includes overviews, analyses of particular projects, and impact of new assessments on classroom, state and national levels.

Newmann, F., Secada, W., & Wehlage, G. (1995). A Guide to Authentic Instruction and Assessment: Vision, Standards and Scoring. Wisconsin Center for Educational Research, 1025 W. Johnson St., Rm. 242, Madison, WI 53706; (608) 263-4214.

    Defines authenticity as including construction of knowledge, disciplined inquiry, and value beyond school. Establishes seven standards for use in assessment, instruction and setting performance standards in math and social studies. Provides examples of assessments and instruction that meet the standards. Last chapter explores how to use the Guide in school reform. Appendices discuss scoring criteria, explain studies on which the Guide is based.

Office of Bilingual Education and Minority Languages Affairs (OBEMLA). (1992). Focus on Evaluation and Measurement: Proceedings of the Second National Research Symposium on Limited English Proficient Student Issues. 2 vols. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education.

    Compilation of papers from the Second National Research Conference sponsored by OBEMLA. Documents focus on the role of assessment in relation to accountability and program improvement at the federal, state, and local levels. Authors believe that the core of the school reform movement is the dissemination of innovations in evaluation and measurement. Papers by Canales, Damico, French, and Ortiz discuss various uses, methods of performance assessment with LEP students.

Paulson, L. (1994). Portfolio Guidelines in Primary Math. Portland, OR: Multomah Education Service District Press.

    Fine introductory booklet to math portfolios. While the discussion and examples focus on primary math, there is much of use for secondary math teachers and for other subject areas.

Perrone, V., ed. (1991). Expanding Student Assessment. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. (See ASCD, at Organizations, below).

    Many valuable chapters written by educators include: methods, such as portfolios and documentation; assessing in writing, science and other areas; classroom implementation; and using the correct assessment for each specific purpose.

Polakowski, B., Spicer, W., & Zimmerman, J. (1992). Linking Assessment to Accountability/ Linking Curriculum to Appropriate Assessment: South Brunswick School District, South Brunswick, NJ. In Day, B., Malarz, L., & Terry, M., eds., Education and Care of Young Children. Alexandria, VA: ASCD (see ASCD, at Organizations, below).

    Outlines process by which teachers implemented portfolio and performance assessment for young children across the district. Discusses problems and successes, including teacher workload, the process of constructing a scale for standardizing the data for accountability purposes, the effects on instruction and learning, and communicating with parents.

Portfolio News. (U. California – San Diego, Teacher Education Program, Portfolio Assessment Clearinghouse, 8500 Gilman Dr., La Jolla, CA 92093-0070. $32 yearly).

    Quarterly newsletter full of information about using portfolios, including descriptions of individual projects at various schools and districts and discussion of issues of concern in portfolio assessment. Reviews and resources are published regularly.

Puckett, M. B. & Black, J. K. (1994). Authentic Assessment of the Young Child: Celebrating Development and Learning. New York: Macmillan College Publishing Company.

    Teacher-oriented, clear and comprehensive book. Includes discussion of theoretical issues and practical advice, with many examples.

Raizen, S. A., Baron, J. B., Champagne, A. B., Haertel, E., Mullis, I. , & Oakes, J. (1990). Assessment in Science Education: The Middle Years. Andover, MA: National Center for Improving Science Education. (The NETWORK, 300 Brickstone Square, Suite 900, Andover, MA 01810).

    Book’s premises are that assessment should improve instruction; and content, instruction, activities and assessment must be developmentally appropriate. Discusses cognitive abilities (and limitations) of 10-14 year-olds as they relate to teaching, learning and assessment in science. Suggests classroom activities for scientific inquiry, along with ways to turn them into assessments. A few state assessment systems (e.g., Vermont) are reviewed, and policy implications of testing are discussed.

Raven, J. (1991). The Tragic Illusion: Educational Testing. Unionville, NY: Trillium Press.

    Provides a comprehensive critique of standardized testing. Explains why assessment should: help students attain competence, which varies individually and has many dimensions; include cognitive, affective, and conative (effort and motivation) elements; and be put in social context. Explains ways to do this and the consequences for schooling. (An abbreviated version is in Berlak, above).

Rethinking Schools. (1994). Rethinking Our Classrooms: Teaching for Equity and Justice. Rethinking Schools, 1001 E. Keefe Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53212; (414) 964-9646; $6.00 + S&H.

    Contains many activities and ways of thinking about teaching that will be valuable for teachers seeking to integrate performance assessment into a changing classroom. Includes criticisms of origins and consequences of multiple-choice and norm-referenced standardized tests.

Ryan, C. D. (1994). Authentic Assessment. Teacher Created Materials: Westminster, CA.

    Good but not sufficient introductory booklet for the teacher new to authentic assessment. Covers wide array of topics, including portfolios, performance tasks and observations. Useful section on parent involvement, and helpful overviews on assessment strategies specific to content areas: language arts, mathematics, science and social studies. Publisher also has a booklet on portfolio assessment.

Shepard, L. & Bliem, C. (1993). Parent Opinions about Standardized Tests, Teacher’s Information and Performance Assessments. Los Angeles: Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing, CSE Technical Report 367. (See CRESST, at Organizations, below).

    A Colorado case study of how parents responded very favorably to introduction of performance assessments. Nearly all preferred them to standardized tests, and half would simply do away with standardized tests.

Sizer, T. Horace’s School (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1992).

    Uses Coalition of Essential Schools as basis for fictitious Franklin High to discuss how to fundamentally restructure schools. A committee struggles to develop and implement change. Uses the exhibition as the center of the assessment process, as is the case in many Coalition schools. (See CES, at Organizations, below).

Stenmark, J. K. (1991). Mathematics Assessment: Myths, Models, Good Questions, and Practical Suggestions. Reston, VA: National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

    An excellent handbook for teachers — and not only math teachers — to begin developing and using performance assessments in the classroom. Covers tasks and projects, observations and interviews, portfolios. Contains many valuable concrete ideas.

Taylor, C. (1994). Assessment for Measurement or Standards: The Peril and Promise of Large-Scale Assessment Reform. American Educational Research Journal. (31)2, 231-262.

    Lucidly describes the dangers of shaping performance assessment to fit the norm-referencing that dominates traditional measurement. Calls for large-scale assessments to be based on standards, not norm-referenced comparisons. Does not address classroom assessments.

Thomas, W., et al. (1995). The CLAS Portfolio Assessment Research and Development Final Report. Princeton, NJ: Center for Performance Assessment, ETS Mail Stop 11-P, 08541.

    Summary of a project to develop and score “organic” portfolios, for accountability purposes, based on California’s curriculum frameworks in language arts and math. Essential “dimensions of learning” were identified and a scoring guide constructed. The idea was for students to include evidence to “build the best case” for demonstrating achievement. Thus, great variety in portfolio content was accepted. Report discusses the process of developing and scoring, shows strongly positive results and provides evidence that this sort of portfolio system can be built. These are not, however, portfolios oriented toward helping classroom instruction and learning during the school year.

Thrust for Educational Leadership. (Nov.-Dec., 1993). (ACSA, 1575 Old Bayshore Hwy., Burlingame, CA, 94010. $5.00).

    Issue focuses on performance assessment. Includes summaries of math standards and of San Diego’s pioneering city assessment system. Discusses portfolios and different assessment systems, of uneven quality, from different California districts. Leads off with “Equitable Assessment” by FairTest’s Monty Neill.

Tierney, R. J., Carter, M. A., & Desai, L. E. (1991). Portfolio Assessment in the Reading-Writing Classroom. Norwood, MA: Christopher-Gordon Publishers.

    Excellent, accessible, detailed practical and theoretical overview of portfolio assessment for literacy takes readers from concepts to evaluation and record keeping. Includes a broad range of examples across various grades and subjects. Authors emphasize that each student’s collection of work will differ and that each classroom will exhibit a unique approach to authentic assessment.

Valdez Pierce, L. & O’Malley, J. M. (1992). Performance and Portfolio Assessment for Language Minority Students. Washington, DC: National Clearinghouse for Bilingual Education, #9, Spring.

    Provides definitions and summary of alternative assessment and two of its varieties, performance assessment and portfolio assessment. Details each in terms of purpose, types, design, administration, and scoring with emphasis on use with language minority students. Lists common concerns of portfolio assessment and provides remedies for these concerns.

Virginia Education Association and Appalachia Educational Laboratory. (1992). Alternative Assessments in Math and Science: Moving Toward a Moving Target. Charleston, WV: Appalachia Educational Laboratory.

    Eleven pairs of Virginia teachers used authentic assessment in their math and science classrooms for a school year. Booklet reports their findings and recommendations. Describes changes in student achievement and attitude, instruction, teacher effectiveness, and working conditions. A list of implementation strategies is emphasized. Includes sample activities conducive to classroom assessment in math and science.

Wiggins, G. P. (1993). Assessing Student Performance: Exploring the Purpose and Limits of Testing. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.

    More philosophical treatise than “how to,” the insights and ideas are important for practitioners. Argues that implementing performance assessment requires a world view based on new values that recognize assessment is a profoundly interpersonal activity. Does contain many particulars, some examples.

Wiggins, G. (1989). A True Test: Toward More Authentic and Equitable Assessment. Phi Delta Kappan. May, pp. 703-713.

    Criticizes standardized tests. Argues that authentic tests (as sometimes different from assessment in general) can be valuable for learning and enhancing equity. Defines authentic tests as evidencing and providing a means to judge knowledge. Establishes criteria for authentic exams and for grading them. Links new forms of testing and assessment to restructuring schools. (See CLASS, at Organizations, below).

Winner, E. (1991). Arts PROPEL: An Introductory Handbook. Cambridge, MA: Project Zero (see Organizations, below).

    A look at using portfolio assessment in the arts in a highly influential model program in Pittsburgh (see also Wolf in Educational Leadership, April 1989). Contains examples, discussion of many particulars of implementation.

Wolf, D. et al. (1991). To Use Their Minds Well: Investigating New Forms of Student Assessment. In G. Grant, ed., Review of Research in Education 17. Washington, DC: American Educational Research Association.

    Provides a critique of the “culture of testing.” Proposes development of a “culture of assessment” based on use of the process-folio as a means of documenting and analyzing student progress and achievements. Discusses the impact of assessment change on schooling.


The Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) has a rapidly growing list of fine materials — books, manuals and videos — on performance assessment. 1250 N. Pitt St., Arlington, VA 22314-1403; (703) 549-9110.

The Center for Collaborative Educationworks with the Coalition of Essential Schools and is closely connected with Central Park East Secondary School. Assessment reform is part of their school restructuring efforts. 1573 Madison Ave., Rm. 201, New York, NY 10029.

The Center on Learning, Assessment, and School Structure (CLASS) provides written materials and consultants for school reform, with a major focus on assessment. Its director is Grant Wiggins (see bibliography). 648 The Great Road, Princeton, NJ 08540; (609) 252-1211.

The Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards and Student Testing (CRESST) is the federal research center on testing and assessment. They have a free newsletter (CRESSTLine) and produce research reports on performance assessments, among other things. 405 Hilgard Ave., 145 Moore Hall, Los Angeles, CA 90024-1522; (310) 206-1532.

The Coalition of Essential Schools is a national network of schools engaged in restructuring, including assessment. Central Part East and International High, discussed in Darling-Hammond, Ancess & Falk, and the schools in McDonald, et al. are in the CES (see Bibliography). Box 1969, Brown University, Providence, RI 02912; (401) 863-3384.

Many states are working on performance assessments; some have included performance items as part of statewide exams. The Council of Chief State School Officers has a number of interstate consortia working on performance assessments, and they can put you in touch with states developing performance assessments, such as Vermont (portfolio assessments), Connecticut, Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, and Maine (performance exams). Contact Ed Roeber, CCSSO, One Mass. Ave., NW, #700, Washington, DC 20001; (202) 336-7045.

The National Center for Education Outcomes for Students with Disabilities. They have sets of indicators that include assessment. 350 Elliot Hall, University of Minnesota, 75 East River Road, Minneapolis, MN 55455; (612) 624-4014.

The National Center for Fair & Open Testing (FairTest) works to make assessment fair, equitable and educationally helpful. In addition to conducting reform campaigns, it has numerous books, pamphlets, reports, bibliographies and fact sheets (see FairTest order form, last page). 15 Court Square, Suite 820, Boston, MA 02108; (857) 350-8207.

The National Center for Restructuring Education, Schools, and Teaching (NCREST) has many publications on performance assessment. Box 110, Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, NY 10027; fax (212) 678-4170.

The New Standards Project is a national effort to develop both standards and assessments, including performance exams, projects and portfolios. They are working with a number of states and districts. c/o National Center on Education and the Economy, 700 11th Street NW – Suite 750, Washington, DC 20001; (202) 783-3668.

Performance Assessment Collaboratives for Education (PACE) works with schools, districts and states in developing performance assessments. Harvard Graduate School of Education, 8 Story Street, Cambridge, MA 02138; (617) 496-2770.

Project Zeroconducts research on performance assessment from pre-school through high school, works with some schools in implementing assessments, and provides a bibliography of papers and materials about their work. Harvard Graduate School of Education, Longfellow Hall, Appian Way, Cambridge, MA 02138; (617) 495-4342.

Prospect Archive and Centeris a pioneer in the use of documentation, portfolios and teacher dialogue about student learning. Also runs institutes on assessment. P.O. Box 226, N. Bennington, VT 05257.

WestEdformerly the Far West Laboratory, has a growing list of publications and videos on assessment, with a focus on equity, in particular for American Indians. WestEd, 730 Harrison St., San Francisco, CA 94107-1242; (415) 565-3000.

In addition, many of the national subject area organizations, the Regional Laboratories, and organizations of teachers, principals and administrators are working to develop and implement new assessments.