Thomas Toch Commentary on Performance Assessment
Mar 21, 2011
In his March Kappan column, Executive Director Thomas Toch argues that the Obama administration is right to focus on new assessment measures as one tool for education reform. In Toch’s view, performance assessments, which ask students to complete a task, such as an essay or lab experiment, do a better job of promoting critical thinking and content mastery than do traditional multiple-choice tests. In fact, most of the nations that outperform the U.S. on international measures already use some form of performance assessment, as do the AP and IB tests. If the U.S. government is serious about educating our students for an increasingly complex global economy, then it must correct the fundamental misalignment between its aspirations and the way we currently assess students, Toch concludes.