Assessing Student Performance: Exploring the Purpose and Limits of Testing

Front Cover
Wiley, Nov 12, 1993 - Education - 316 pages
What is assessment and how does testing differ from it? Why will a move to performance tests, by itself, not provide us with an adequate system of student assessment? How might we better "test our tests" beyond the technical standards that now apply? And why won't increased national testing offer us the accountability of schools we so sorely need?
In this book, Grant P. Wiggins clarifies the limits of testing in an assessment system. Beginning with the premise that student assessment should improve performance, not just audit it, Wiggins analyzes some time-honored but morally and intellectually problematic practices in test design, such as the use of secrecy, distracters, scoring on a curve, and formats that allow for no explanation by students of their answers. He explains how many test-design standards serve technical experts and their needs rather than students and their interests. And he discusses how useful and timely feedback is an absolute requirement of any authentic test.
By showing us that assessment is more than testing and intellectual performance is more than right answers, Wiggins points the way toward new systems of assessment that more closely examine students' habits of mind and provide teachers and policy makers with more useful and credible feedback.

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.


Assessment Worthy of the Liberal Arts
The Morality of Test Security
Testing and Tact

4 other sections not shown

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (1993)

GRANT P. WIGGINS is director of programs for the Center on Learning, Assessment, and School Structure (CLASS), a not-for-profit educational research and consulting organization in Geneseo, New York. He has consulted with numerous schools, districts, and states on assessment and curriculum reform, including Kentucky, California, New York, Vermont, and Maryland.

Bibliographic information