Gordon Commission calls for dramatic changes in assessments

A high-level commission of educators, researchers and policy analysts is calling on state and federal policymakers to commit to a long-term plan to significantly change assessments so that they place a greater emphasis on providing timely and valuable information to students and teachers.

Jim Pellegrino, co-director of LSRI, is the co-chairman of The Gordon Commission on the Future of Assessment in Education, which released the report.

Pellegrino and other authors of the report said that while the use of test results for the sole purpose school accountability has sometimes overshadowed the more valuable uses of assessments, good assessments can provide timely, constructive information that can help students accelerate their learning.

The commission suggested a 10-year plan to help states meet that goal.

The authors also said that emerging research and technologies can help create these new, dramatically improved assessments if educators and policymakers take a systematic and balanced approach toward developing them. More research is needed before such digital technologies can be fully integrated into classrooms and schools, they cautioned.

However, they also said that they are optimistic about the potential of digital games and simulations to combine learning and assessment.

"I am really interested in ways that technology can dramatically change both what we assess and how we assess it and also our ability to make assessment more productive for teachers and others to use," Pellegrino said.