Worth Reading: K-12

K-12 Testing

Portfolios in Large-Scale Assessment: Difficult But Not Impossible, by Paul LeMahieu, Drew Gitomer and JoAnne Eresh (Educational Measurement, Fall 1995, V. 14 #3), analyzes the success of Pittsburgh s writing portfolio assessment as an accountability tool (see Examiner, Fall 1992). The article shows that portfolios can allow for student choice in selecting materials, as well as diversity of portfolio content and variety in classroom work, and still obtain sufficient reliability for public accounting. Based in classroom work and developed and scored primarily by teachers, Pittsburgh s portfolios support high quality classroom practice and help reveal actual instructional practices and student opportunity to learn.


A Guide to Authentic Instruction and Assessment: Vision, Standards and Scoring defines authenticity as including construction of knowledge, disciplined inquiry, and value beyond school. This Guide, by Fred Newmann, Walter Secada and Gary Wehlage of the Wisconsin Center for Educational Research, establishes seven standards for use in assessment and instruction in math and social studies. It also provides examples that meet one or more of the standards. The last chapter discusses how to use the Guide in school reform. From WCER, 1025 W. Johnson St., Rm. 242, Madison, WI 53706; (608) 263-4214; $9.00.


Assessing Language Development in Bilingual Preschool Children provides an introduction to various routes to language acquisition, points out the limitations of standardized tests, and offers guidelines for assessing bilingual children, calling for instructionally embedded assessment. The report outlines the California Early Language Development Assessment Process, which involves a series of steps: planning assessment; collecting information through observation and documentation; developing a portfolio; writing a narrative summary; meeting with family and staff; and developing curriculum and instruction based on the needs found in the assessment. From National Clearinghouse for Bilingual Assessment, 1118 22nd St., NW, Washington, DC 20037; $3.50.