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Change in Education

Education across the United States is in the process of significant change, and shifts in assessment practices are central to the reforms currently in progress. What are some of the factors driving this change process?

This excerpt from the Cisco-Intel-Microsoft’s 2004 Call to Action, Transforming Education: Assessing and Teaching 21st Century Skills, focuses on the 21st century challenges facing education. As you read, think about the role of assessment in the reform process.

Significant reform is needed in education, world-wide, to respond to and shape global trends in support of both economic and social development. What is learned, how it is taught, and how schools are organized must be transformed to respond to the social and economic needs of students and society as we face the challenges of the 21st century. Systemic education reform is needed that includes curriculum, pedagogy, teacher training, and school organization.

Reform is particularly needed in education assessment—how is it that education and society more generally measure the competencies and skills that are needed for productive, creative workers and citizens? Accountability is an important component of education reform. But more often than not, accountability efforts have measured what is easiest to measure, rather than what is most important.