Publications & Resources

Issues in Innovative Assessment for Classroom Practice: Barriers and Facilitators

Mar 1993

Pamela R. Aschbacher

As proven by the British experience, we cannot assume that new innovative assessments will be immediately understood and embraced by American teachers. Implementing performance assessments may demand new roles for teachers and students and require a radical paradigm shift among educators–from a focus on content coverage to outcomes achieved. This paper, utilizing an action research approach, describes the findings of CRESST researchers who observed, interviewed, and surveyed teachers involved in implementing alternatives assessments into their classrooms. Probably the most fundamental barrier to developing and implementing sound performance assessments was the pervasive tendency of teachers to think about classroom activities rather than student outcomes. Teachers who used portfolios, for example, focused on what interesting activities might be documented in the portfolios rather than what goals would be achieved as a result of these instructional activities. The study revealed other basic barriers in the development and implementation of alternative assessments, including teacher assessment anxiety, lack of teacher time and training, and teachers’ reluctance to change.

Aschbacher, P. R. (1993). Issues in innovative assessment for classroom practice: Barriers and facilitators (CSE Report 359). Los Angeles: University of California, Los Angeles, National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST).