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Parents, educators want more from assessment

National survey reveals stakeholders want more varied measures of students' skills

Results from a recent study results suggest that states and schools could use assessments in better and more helpful ways.

Thanks to the federal No Child Left Behind Act, K-12 educators are spending more time than ever before on testing their students’ skills—but is all this testing doing any good?

The results from a new national survey reveal that both parents and educators would like to see a wider variety of school assessments that go beyond the high-stakes exams now common in schools—and they’d like to see a wider range of skills and subjects tested as well, including so-called 21st century skills such as problem solving and critical thinking.

The results suggest that states and schools could be doing a better job of using assessments as key tools to foster student growth and achievement.

Parents are increasingly involved in their child’s school assessments, noted Peter Grunwald of Grunwald Associates, which worked with the Northwest Evaluation Association to release the report, titled, “For Every Child, Multiple Measures: What Parents and Educators Want from K-12 Assessments.”

One finding worth noting is that many parents believe school assessment results begin to lose their impact within one month after the assessment takes place.

For more information about smart assessment practices, see:

Doing More with Less: How Informed Assessment Practices Can Help

“This has all sorts of implications for the types of assessments, and also the need for technology-based platforms for assessments,” Grunwald said. “It’s only through the use of technology that certain types of assessments are going to be reported back within that very tight time frame.”

Parents and educators appear to want a relatively broad set of subjects and skills assessed.

“While math and science are critical, they’re not the only subjects they want assessed. … To us, that was pretty striking,” Grunwald said, noting that subjects such as economics and the arts appear in a majority or near majority of responses.

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