Publications & Resources

The Politics of Assessment: A View From the Political Culture of Arizona

Nov 1996

Mary Lee Smith

In this report, Mary Lee Smith traces the events of the Arizona Student Assessment Program (ASAP), an innovative multiple assessment program that grew out of discontent with mandated standardized testing in Arizona, and provides a narrative account of the events of the four year existence of ASAP and the research on it. In addition to multiple-choice tests, ASAP included a series of constructed response items within the content areas of reading, math, and writing. However, technical problems and politics detrimentally impacted ASAP, and the complete program has yet to be implemented. Smith reviews the various political causes for ASAP’s demise, including the election of a new state superintendent of instruction, lack of professional development that supported the new assessment system, and validity problems concerning the performance assessment component of ASAP.

Smith, M. L. (1996). The politics of assessment: A view from the political culture of Arizona (CSE Report 420). Los Angeles: University of California, Los Angeles, National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST).