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Unformatted text preview: http://er.aera.net Educational Researcher DOI: 10.3102/0013189X029007004 2000; 29; 4 EDUCATIONAL RESEARCHER Lorrie A. Shepard The Role of Assessment in a Learning Culture http://edr.sagepub.com The online version of this article can be found at: Published on behalf of http://www.aera.net By http://www.sagepublications.com can be found at: Educational Researcher Additional services and information for http://er.aera.net/cgi/alerts Email Alerts: http://er.aera.net/subscriptions Subscriptions: http://www.aera.net/reprints Reprints: http://www.aera.net/permissions Permissions: at TOURO COLLEGE LIBRARY on May 13, 2009 http://er.aera.net Downloaded from The Role of Assessment in a Learning Culture LORRIE A. SHEPARD Educational Researcher, Vol 29, No. 7 , pp. 4-14 Historical Perspectives: Curriculum, Psychology, and Measurement T his article is about classroom assessment—not the kind of assessments used to give grades or to satisfy the ac- countability demands of an external authority, but rather the kind of assessment that can be used as a part of instruction to support and enhance learning. On this topic, I am especially interested in engaging the very large num- ber of educational researchers who participate, in one way or another, in teacher education. The transformation of as- sessment practices cannot be accomplished in separate tests and measurement courses, but rather should be a central concern in teaching methods courses. The article is organized in three parts. I present, first, an historical framework highlighting the key tenets of social efficiency curricula, behaviorist learning theories, and "sci- entific measurement." Next, I offer a contrasting social- constructivist-conceptual framework that blends key ideas from cognitive, constructivist, and sociocultural theories. In the third part, I elaborate on the ways that assessment prac- tices should change to be consistent with and support social- constructivist pedagogy. The impetus for my development of an historical frame- work was the observation by Beth Graue (1993) that "as- sessment and instruction are often conceived as curiously separate in both time and purpose" (p. 291, emphasis added). As Graue notes, the measurement approach to classroom assessment, "exemplified by standardized tests and teacher-made emulations of those tests," presents a barrier to the implementation of more constructivist ap- proaches to instruction. To understand the origins of Graue's picture of separa- tion and to help explain its continuing power over present- day practice, I drew the chronology in Figure_l. A longer- term span of history helps us see that those measurement perspectives, now felt to be incompatible with instruction, came from an earlier, highly consistent theoretical frame- work (on the left) in which conceptions of "scientific mea- surement" were closely aligned with traditional curricula and beliefs about learning. To the right is an emergent, con- structivist paradigm in which teachers' close assessment of...
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