by Richard L. Allington, Ph.D., University of Florida, in Issues in Education: Contributions from Educational Psychology. Adapted by CalCARE and FairTest.
Here are twelve strategies that have been used to improve test scores without improving achievement, as reported in research reports and media accounts: 1. Alter the answer sheets (cheat). Change kids' wrong answers to right ones. Or tell kids to only answer the questions they know and leave the rest blank. Then fill in the right answers for them.
MYTH 1: If some schools administer performance assessments instead of Regents exams, all schools will want to use the same "escape hatch."
TRUTH: Rather than being an "escape hatch," performance assessment tasks, as used by the New York Performance Standards Consortium, are more challenging than Regents exams. In fact, tasks such as the literary essay, the original science experiment and the research paper not only meet, but exceed state standards.
The Learning Record is an open system of literacy and mathematics assessment, K-12, maintained and monitored by the classroom teacher to provide evidence that students are moving toward agreed upon goals and standards. Parents (and/or other adult mentors) and students themselves contribute evidence for the Record. Teachers summarize and record this information to inform their teaching and to calibrate their interpretations of the standards with others beyond the classroom for accountability purposes.
The Learning Record is a powerful assessment process developed first in England for literacy (reading, writing, speaking, listening) for use with low-income children, many of whom had first languages other than English. For years, U.S. work on the LR was led by the Center for Language in Learning, but sadly it has closed its doors.