Publications & Resources

Assessment, Testing, and Instruction: Retrospect and Prospect

Jun 1994

Robert Glaser and Edward Silver

Increasing concern about the nature and form of student assessments and the uses made of test results forms the basis for Assessment, Testing and Instruction: Retrospect and Prospect by CRESST researchers Robert Glaser and Edward Silver. The authors explore the nature of testing and assessment by examining some of the deficiencies and abuses associated with past practices in educational measurement, then investigating present and future possibilities for alternative forms of assessment. “At this point in time,” write Glaser and Silver, “assessment and testing in American schools are caught between the extensive rhetoric of reform and the intransigence of long-established practices.” Through an informative discussion of the two standard purposes of educational assessment–testing for selection and placement and assessing educational outcomes–the authors demonstrate the need for an evaluation of the purposes of educational testing. In the second half of their report, the authors discuss the latest trends in assessment geared towards ensuring that testing and teaching interact to inform one another for the improvement of instruction. Addressing such issues as access, fairness, transparency and openness, content quality, self-assessment, and socially situated assessment, the authors conclude that if assessments are to become integral to instruction, the nature of testing and assessment needs to change towards the following: * Testing should be seen as being less about sorting and selecting students and more about offering valuable information to both teachers and students; * Assessment should be tied to curriculum, examining what has been taught and practiced, and being thereby more representative of meaningful tasks and subject-matter goals; * Self-assessment should enable students to set incremental standards by which they can judge their own achievement and develop self-direction for attaining higher performance levels.

Glaser, R., & Silver, E. (1994). Assessment, testing, and instruction: Retrospect and prospect (CSE Report 379). Los Angeles: University of California, Los Angeles, National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST).