A New Era for Educational Assessment

Among education researchers, there is a growing consensus that college and career readiness depends on not just academic knowledge and skills but on a wide range of social and developmental competencies, as well—such as the ability to monitor one’s own learning, persist at challenging tasks, solve complex problems, set realistic goals, and communicate effectively in many kinds of settings. Yet, most U.S. schools continue to use standardized achievement tests, focusing exclusively on reading and math, as their primary means of gauging student progress.

In this paper—the first in Students at the Center’s new Deeper Learning Research Series—David T. Conley, well-known for his influential research on college readiness, argues that the time is ripe for a major shift in educational assessment. State and federal policymakers should reconsider their overreliance on standardized tests, he argues, and they should embrace the use of multiple measures that, in combination, provide much deeper and more useful information about students’ readiness to succeed after high school.