The Assessment Bridge: Positive Ways to Link Tests to Learning, Standards, and Curriculum Improvement

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We must ensure that tests serve the needs of education-not force education to fulfill the requirements of testing. The Assessment Bridge is award-winning educator Pearl Solomon's penetrating and cogent examination of today's high-stakes standards-based testing movement, which seems to compromise effective teaching and learning rather than improve it. Committed teachers know the importance of student assessment is as a guide to classroom instruction. Restoring assessment to its proper place in the curriculum is the goal of this clear-headed analysis. Chapters cover: The origins and history of the current testing movement How good tests guide teaching and learning How to balance standardized tests, curriculum standards, and critical local variables such as class size, socioeconomics, and teacher attitudes How to build bridges from test anxiety to improved student learning, teacher training, curriculum and instruction, and school administration and leadership How to recruit, train, and nurture a new generation of talented, committed, and effective teachers Emphasizing the positive at all times, Solomon guides us toward creation of better schools where the best teachers and school leaders link tests to standards, curriculum, and improved student learning.

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Editorial Reviews

Dr. Nancy Goldman

"In her supremely well-written and useful book, Dr. Solomon has woven together historical perspective, research, and her own considerable experience to address reforming schools in the 21st Century. After defining the problem (productive change), Dr. Solomon has examined "old" solutions and conceptualized new ones to create better schools for students. She has focused the reader's attention on critical issues to be addressed--restructuring curriculum around assessment to inform instruction; selecting, training, and retaining the best teachers; and developing shared leadership--and has offered useful and practical suggestions to address them."

Ann Lieberman

"Just the kind of bridge we need to span the ideological wars and make schools work for teachers and their students."

Doctor - Nancy Goldman
"In her supremely well-written and useful book, Dr. Solomon has woven together historical perspective, research, and her own considerable experience to address reforming schools in the 21st Century. After defining the problem (productive change), Dr. Solomon has examined "old" solutions and conceptualized new ones to create better schools for students. She has focused the reader's attention on critical issues to be addressed—restructuring curriculum around assessment to inform instruction; selecting, training, and retaining the best teachers; and developing shared leadership—and has offered useful and practical suggestions to address them. "
Matthew Foley

"Standards and implementation of the learning process go hand in hand. The Assessment Bridge makes us clearly aware of the present need for a bridge between the two so that standards may not create greater failure and the rejection of formal education by many children."

Jason P. Friedman

"This book presents the needed material to follow from Dr. Solomon’s work on standards and curriculum. It completes the bridge from goals to accountability by introducing a better understanding of assessment. It will allow educators to better comprehend the key instructional issues that we face."

Alysan Slighter

"Dr. Solomon's latest is, once again, a gem. The Assessment Bridge offers a wealth of concrete tools and examples to support schools, administrators, and teachers in providing meaningful student learning experiences in (and despite) a high-stakes testing environment. Her reflections and inquiry on her own teaching and learning experiences are woven throughout, and present a unique context and historical perspective that somehow make this task possible. It will be high on my list of recommended resource books."

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780761945949
  • Publisher: SAGE Publications
  • Publication date: 6/14/2002
  • Series: One-off Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 180
  • Sales rank: 1,203,507
  • Product dimensions: 6.80 (w) x 9.90 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Pearl G. Solomon is professor emerita of teacher education at St. Thomas Aquinas College in Sparkill, New York. She has served as a director and officer for professional organizations and as a consultant to many school districts, the New York State Education Department, and the United States Department of Education. Solomon is the recipient of a number of special awards from the state and community for her work in science, math, health, and career education.
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Table of Contents

Foreword - by Ann Lieberman
About the Author
1. Defining the Problem: The Historical Context
About This Chapter
Schools as Transmitters of Culture
What Early 20th-Century Schools Were Like
My School in Bethel
Elementary Schools in Depression-Era New York City
Education Beyond the Classroom
Schools in the Later 20th Century: A Beginning Teacher
IQ Tests and Regents Exams
Defining and Dealing With Differences
What the Research Told Us
Proving My Point: Giving Students Choices
Back to Basics
Special Education
Using History as a Decision Base
2. Schools at the Beginning of the 21st Century: Problems and Proposed Solutions
About This Chapter
Defining the Problem
Proposed Solution One: Defining Educational Standards
Proposed Solution Two: School Accountability
The Government Response: High-Stake Testing
High-Stakes Testing: The Other Stakeholders Respond
Proposed Solution Three: Achieveing Equity Through School Choice
Proposed Solution Four: Extending the Time for Schooling
Time for Enrichment
Time for a Good Start
Proposed Solution Five: Technology in the Classroom
The Research Base for Technology Use
Technology as an Assessment Tool and Manager
The Current Status of the Use of Technology in Schools
Technology for Communicating With Our Public
Some Conclusions About Technology in the Classroom
3. Taking the First Steps Toward Productive Change
About This Chapter
The Variables of Change
Vision and Voice
History and Setting
Bounded Rationality
Opportunism and Asset-Specific Investments
Step One: Building New Capacity
Step Two: Generating Ownership
Step Three: Assuming Leadership
Step Four: Providing Time for Learning and Change
Changing Schools in the Search for a Better Future
4. The Assessment Roadway: How Tests Tell Us What to Do
About This Chapter
Demonstrating Knowledge
Defining Standards and Assessment
The Task-Specific Rubric
The Developmental Rubric
Using Rubrics in Formative and Summative Assessment
Summative Applications
Generating Ownership of Tests
Reaching Consensus on Group Summative Scores
Matching Distal and Proximal Measures
Validity: Does It Fit?
Generating Ownership: Begin With Curriculum-Based Proximal Assessments
Preparing for the Tests: Curriculum Teaching
Proximal Measures Responding to HSSB Analyses
What Lies Beneath: Disaggregating Scores
Disaggregating for Noninstructional Differences
Relationship of Teacher Training and Experience to Student Achievement
Other Cultural and School Variables: Confronting the Achievement Gap
5. Responding to High-Stakes, Standards-Based (HSSB) Tests: Restructuring Curriculum
About This Chapter
Two Alternative Responses to HSSB Tests
Alternative One: Starting With the HSSB Test
Embedded Concepts
Assessment-Responsive Curriculum Adjustments
Starting From a Core of HSSB Tests: Applying and Responding to Analysis
Alternative Two: Starting With the Standards
Responding to Test Data With Curriculum Reconstruction
In Conclusion: Assessing Oneself
6. Building a Cohort of the Best Teachers: Recruitment, Engagement, Nurturance
About This Chapter
About Models
Why We Need to Recruit Teachers
Where Teachers Used to Come From
Why There Is a Current Shortage: The Recruitment Pool
Why There Is a Current Shortage: Retention
Solving the Prestige Problem: Interdependent Stakeholders
Solving the Prestige Problem: Changing the Agenda of Teacher Unions
Solving the Prestige Problem: Raising Teacher Salaries
The REN Model: Recruiting Heroes
The REN Model: Educating Recruits
The REN Model: Engagement in Action
The REN Model: Engagement in Interaction
The REN Model: Nurturing Novices
Nurturing Experienced Teachers: The Need for Better Professional Development
Motivating Teachers to Participate in Professional Development
A Cooperative-Teaching Model
How I Learned: Cooperative Teaching
Professional-Development Schools: Object Linking and Embedding (OLE) Relationships
An Example: The East Ramapo and St. Thomas Aquinas College PDS
Engaging in the OLE Process
Some General Conclusions About Increasing Teachers' Capacity
7. Searching for Leadership
About This Chapter
Understanding Leadership and Power
Direct and Indirect Messages
Evoking Change
Leading: Giving Power and Indirect Messages
How Educational Leaders Act
A Personal Analysis From the Distributive Perspective
Shared Leadership and Power
The Power of Money, Matches, Tradition, Time, and Place
Social Interactions, Macrotasks, and Microtasks in Curriculum Leadership Roles
Social Interactions, Macrotasks, and Microtasks in the Principal Leadership Role
The Shortage of Administrators
Leadership by Teachers
Leadership by Teacher Networks
MCMSC Network: Sample Activities
What We Learned About Leadership Needs
Addressing Sociocultural Needs: Other Sources and Focuses of Leadership
Community-Based Leadership: Project Excel
Community-Based Leadership: Windhover Farm
Using Models to Build the Assessment Bridge
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