New Federally Financed Secondary School Assessments Should Help College Readiness

Most statewide secondary school assessments are multiple choice to keep costs low and improve reliability.  For example, California tests are all multiple choice except writing in grade 7 State tests  often lack the complexity to align with college standards. Competition has opened for $350 million in Race to the Top funds to design new ways of assessing students. Rules for the contest make clear that the federal  government wants to leave behind multiple-choice testing more often in favor of essays, multidisciplinary projects, and other more nuanced and valid measures of achievement. The final regulations indicate that the Department of Education is seeking tests that show what students have learned, as well as how that achievement has grown over time and whether they are on track to do well in college.

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