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December 1, 1996
Vol. 54
No. 4


Evaluation Comment

Evaluation Comment, Summer 1996 issue, UCLA's Center for the Study of Evaluation (CSE) and the Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST).
In this issue of CSE/CRESST's quarterly newsletter, Eva Baker, Robert Linn, and Joan Herman trace trends in U.S. assessment policies and describe the four research areas that CSE and CRESST will explore in crafting a new assessment model. They will concentrate on (1) system coherence (aligning assessment and curriculum), (2) adaptations and accommodations (for example, including students with Individualized Education Plans in large-scale state and district assessments), (3) measuring progress (problems such as group progress and low reliability of change scores), and (4) reporting for understanding and action.
CRESST is a newly formed partnership of UCLA; the Educational Testing Service; the University of Colorado at Boulder; Stanford University; The Rand Corporation; the University of Pittsburgh; and the University of California, Santa Barbara. CSE and CRESST also publish a number of technical reports, including "Monitoring and Improving a Portfolio Assessment" (1995, $4.50), "Cognitive Analysis of a Science Performance Assessment" (1995, $5), and "Using Group Collaboration as a Window into Students' Cognitive Processes" (1995, $2.50).
Evaluation Comment (free, 28 pages, paperbound) and the reports are available from the UCLA Center for the Study of Evaluation, 1320 Moore Hall/Mailbox 951522, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1522. For a current product catalog, contact Kim Hurstat, (310) 206-1532 (e-mail: kim@cse.ucla.edu). Or visit the CRESST Web site at http://www.cse.ucla.edu.


TerraNova, CTB (California Testing Bureau)/McGraw-Hill.
The emphasis of this K–12 assessment series is on critical and creative thinking, problem solving, and construction of meaning, as well as basic skills in four subject areas— reading/language arts, math, science, and social studies. To motivate students to do their best work, the assessments use real-world topics that engage students' interest.
Because TerraNova is modular, educators may use the components individually or in combination to suit their specific needs. The components include a Comprehensive Test of Basic Skills (CTBS) Survey (25 selected-response items per subject area), a CTBS Battery (selected response items and more in-depth objective-level information), Performance Assessments (tasks with both short and extended constructed activities), and a custom component to complement any of the others. TerraNova aligns with curriculums and current classroom materials. The reporting system offers data on how students are performing compared to local and national norms and in line with performance or proficiency standards.
A Spanish language version, SUPERA, will be released this spring.
Available from CTB/McGraw-Hill, 20 Ryan Ranch Rd., Monterey, CA 93940. (800) 538-9547. October 1996. $102 for set of K–3 test books and examiner's manual; $81 for grades 4-12; $28 for pack of 50 answer sheets.

Using Assessment to Drive School Change

Using Assessment to Drive School Change: A Collection of Learnings, Maine Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
A team of educators on every level put together this snapshot of issues facing those who are engaged in alternative assessment. Individual sections address district-level decision makers, school leaders, and teachers, all with an emphasis on assessing what students should know and be able to do throughout the instructional process. Nearly two-thirds of the book is devoted to samples of approaches, student outcomes, staff evaluations, and student work.
Available from Irving Ouellette, Executive Director, Maine Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, Box 926, Brunswick, ME 04011. (207) 729-6652. 1995. 90 pp. Paperbound.

Performance Assessment

Performance Assessment: Testing the Tests, Grant Wiggins.
This set of four videotapes features more than five hours of a two-day workshop led by Wiggins, director of the Center on Learning, Assessment, and School Structure. Texas ASCD, which cosponsored the workshop with the Fort Worth chapter of the International Standards Organization, included actual classroom footage to help clarify the performance assessment process. An overview video describes the incorporation of performance assessment into the testing process. The dual goals: to help K–12 educators develop activities that measure the extent to which they have accomplished their objectives, and to help them build a strong, comparative rubric. A manual containing guidelines and several worksheets is included.
Available from Texas ASCD, 701 Brazos, Suite 480, Austin, TX 78701; fax (512) 477-8215. 1996. Manual 273 pp., Paperbound. $550 for four videotapes and manual, $450 without the one-hour overview video, $150 for overview alone, $250 for 10-day rental.

Years of Promise

Years of Promise: A Comprehensive Learning Strategy for America's Children, Carnegie Task Force on Learning in the Primary Grades.
"This is a practical, prevention-oriented approach to make sure that by age 10, virtually all children will be able to read, write, and do math and science at levels of excellence now achieved by only a few," said Carnegie Corporation President David Hamburg in announcing the release of this report. The task force stresses the importance of looking beyond the traditional walls of elementary schools to coordinate the institutions that influence—or could influence—young children's learning: parents, community groups, preschools, after-school programs, and the new electronic media. Recommendations include universal access to high-quality early care and education for all 3- and 4-year-olds, more support for parents, and reorganization of elementary schools to eliminate the many programs "that simply don't work."
Based on a two-year study of successful programs and practices, the report is the latest effort by the Carnegie Corporation to introduce realistic solutions to children's learning and developmental problems.
Available from the Carnegie Corporation of New York, P.O. Box 753, Waldorf, MD 20604. (301) 645-2742. The executive summary is free and is also available online through either gopher.carnegie.org or http://www.carnegie.org. September 1996. 162 pp., Paperbound. $10.

Priority One

Priority One: Schools That Work, California Public Education Partnership.
  • Respondents valued school improvement over tax cuts by 77 to 21 percent, over environmental protection by 77 to 19 percent, and over fighting crime by 51 to 44 percent. And nearly two-thirds of Californians supported after-school care for children of low-income, working parents.
  • Ninety percent thought the basics—reading, writing, and arithmetic—should be the highest teaching priority. Most also wanted core values taught, including civic responsibility (90 percent) and respect for people of different races and cultures (79 percent).
  • More than 40 percent strongly favored vouchers for use at private or religious schools (an equal number said vouchers were a bad idea). Slightly more than half strongly supported charter schools.
Available from the Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning (a new nonprofit group that supports teachers' professional growth), 335 Shake Mill Rd., Santa Cruz, CA 95060. (408) 427-3628. Internet: http://www.ksagroup.com/thecenter. October 1996. 130 pp., Paperbound. $30. A 26-page summary report is $10 (or $8 for 10 or more).

Scholastic Guide to Balanced Reading

Scholastic Guide to Balanced Reading: Making It Work for You, Edited by Joyce Baltas and Susan Shafer.
In two practical, accessible compilations—one for grades K–2, the other for grades 3-6—a host of experienced educators offer teaching strategies, ideas for activities and lesson plans, classroom assessments, checklists, and other resources. Both volumes include chapters on managing the classroom, using literature, integrating the language arts, supporting English language learners, using technology and mentors, and connecting families and school. The K–2 volume also addresses the beginning reader and the role of phonics, and the 3-6 volume describes skills and strategies for teaching literature.
Available from Scholastic Professional Books, Scholastic Inc., 2931 East McCarty St., Jefferson City, MO 65102. (573) 636-5271. 1996. Each volume is 120 pages. Paperbound. $12.95.

Educating for Human Dignity

Educating for Human Dignity: Learning About Rights and Responsibilities, Betty A. Reardon.
This K–12 teaching resource is suitable for a full human rights curriculum, enrichment of an ongoing program, or simply for a classroom discussion. Third graders, for example, discuss reverence for life, 4th graders discuss the responsibilities that go with rights, 5th graders confront prejudice, and 9th graders explore civil and political rights. The author, one of the foremost scholars on human rights education, directs the Peace Education Program at Columbia University, Teachers College.
Available from the University of Pennsylvania Press, 418 Service Drive, Philadelphia, PA 19104. (215) 898-6261. 1996. 239 pp. $24.95 Paperbound, $49.95 Clothbound.

Valuing Diversity in the School System

Valuing Diversity in the School System: A Dialogue for School Leaders, James Bellanca, R. Bruce Williams, and Eleanor Renee Rodriguez.
This looseleaf-style Facilitator's Guide and Participant's Manual are designed to be used at a two-day seminar for all school employees—teachers, principals, counselors, coaches, central office personnel, and cafeteria workers. The objective is the creation of a cohesive districtwide plan for personnel and "customers." The facilitator's guide includes materials needed to lead small and large group discussions, give lectures, and assign reading on subjects ranging from "The Organizational Effects of Stereotyping" and "Feeling Different" to "Ethnocentrism." The corresponding participant's manual comes with activity worksheets and reflective readings. Diversity is defined broadly, embracing race, color, gender, age, language, physical characteristics, disability, economic status, parental status, education, geographic origin, profession, lifestyle, religion, and position in the school hierarchy.
Available from IRI/Skylight Training and Publishing, Inc., 2626 S. Clearbrook Dr., Arlington Heights, IL 60005. (800) 348-4474 or (847) 290-6609. 1995. Facilitator's Guide is 130 pages., Paperbound, $140. Participant's Manual is 88 pages. Paperbound, $19.95.

This article was published anonymously, or the author name was removed in the process of digital storage.

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