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The Assessment Bridge

The Assessment Bridge
Positive Ways to Link Tests to Learning, Standards, and Curriculum Improvement

June 2002 | 180 pages | Corwin
`Just the kind of bridge we need to span the ideological wars and make schools work for teachers and their students' - Ann Lieberman, Senior Scholar, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching,Visiting Professor, Stanford University, USA

A clear-headed and cogent analysis of how High-Stakes Standards-Based (HSSB) tests affect student learning, teacher training, curriculum and instruction, and school administration and leadership. Covers the origins and history of the current testing movement and analyzes how the proper balance of standardized tests, curriculum standards, and locally controlled variables (socioeconomic status, class size, teacher attitudes) can help schools focus their energies for maximum effect and build bridges from test anxiety to better learning and better schools.

by Ann Lieberman
About the Author
1. Defining the Problem: The Historical Context
About This Chapter

Schools as Transmitters of Culture

What Early 20th-Century Schools Were Like

My School in Bethel

Elementary Schools in Depression-Era New York City

Education Beyond the Classroom

Schools in the Later 20th Century: A Beginning Teacher

IQ Tests and Regents Exams

Defining and Dealing With Differences

What the Research Told Us

Proving My Point: Giving Students Choices

Back to Basics

Special Education

Using History as a Decision Base

2. Schools at the Beginning of the 21st Century: Problems and Proposed Solutions
About This Chapter

Defining the Problem

Proposed Solution One: Defining Educational Standards

Proposed Solution Two: School Accountability

The Government Response: High-Stake Testing

High-Stakes Testing: The Other Stakeholders Respond

Proposed Solution Three: Achieveing Equity Through School Choice

Proposed Solution Four: Extending the Time for Schooling

Time for Enrichment

Time for a Good Start

Proposed Solution Five: Technology in the Classroom

The Research Base for Technology Use

Technology as an Assessment Tool and Manager

The Current Status of the Use of Technology in Schools

Technology for Communicating With Our Public

Some Conclusions About Technology in the Classroom

3. Taking the First Steps Toward Productive Change
About This Chapter

The Variables of Change

Vision and Voice

History and Setting

Bounded Rationality

Opportunism and Asset-Specific Investments

Step One: Building New Capacity

Step Two: Generating Ownership

Step Three: Assuming Leadership

Step Four: Providing Time for Learning and Change

Changing Schools in the Search for a Better Future

4. The Assessment Roadway: How Tests Tell Us What to Do
About This Chapter

Demonstrating Knowledge

Defining Standards and Assessment


The Task-Specific Rubric

The Developmental Rubric

Using Rubrics in Formative and Summative Assessment

Summative Applications

Generating Ownership of Tests

Reaching Consensus on Group Summative Scores

Matching Distal and Proximal Measures

Validity: Does It Fit?

Generating Ownership: Begin With Curriculum-Based Proximal Assessments

Preparing for the Tests: Curriculum Teaching

Proximal Measures Responding to HSSB Analyses

What Lies Beneath: Disaggregating Scores

Disaggregating for Noninstructional Differences

Relationship of Teacher Training and Experience to Student Achievement

Other Cultural and School Variables: Confronting the Achievement Gap

5. Responding to High-Stakes, Standards-Based (HSSB) Tests: Restructuring Curriculum
About This Chapter

Two Alternative Responses to HSSB Tests

Alternative One: Starting With the HSSB Test

Embedded Concepts

Assessment-Responsive Curriculum Adjustments

Starting From a Core of HSSB Tests: Applying and Responding to Analysis

Alternative Two: Starting With the Standards

Responding to Test Data With Curriculum Reconstruction

In Conclusion: Assessing Oneself

6. Building a Cohort of the Best Teachers: Recruitment, Engagement, Nurturance
About This Chapter

About Models

Why We Need to Recruit Teachers

Where Teachers Used to Come From

Why There Is a Current Shortage: The Recruitment Pool

Why There Is a Current Shortage: Retention

Solving the Prestige Problem: Interdependent Stakeholders

Solving the Prestige Problem: Changing the Agenda of Teacher Unions

Solving the Prestige Problem: Raising Teacher Salaries

The REN Model: Recruiting Heroes

The REN Model: Educating Recruits

The REN Model: Engagement in Action

The REN Model: Engagement in Interaction

The REN Model: Nurturing Novices

Nurturing Experienced Teachers: The Need for Better Professional Development

Motivating Teachers to Participate in Professional Development

A Cooperative-Teaching Model

How I Learned: Cooperative Teaching

Professional-Development Schools: Object Linking and Embedding (OLE) Relationships

An Example: The East Ramapo and St. Thomas Aquinas College PDS

Engaging in the OLE Process

Some General Conclusions About Increasing Teachers' Capacity

7. Searching for Leadership
About This Chapter

Understanding Leadership and Power

Direct and Indirect Messages

Evoking Change

Leading: Giving Power and Indirect Messages

How Educational Leaders Act

A Personal Analysis From the Distributive Perspective

Shared Leadership and Power

The Power of Money, Matches, Tradition, Time, and Place

Social Interactions, Macrotasks, and Microtasks in Curriculum Leadership Roles

Social Interactions, Macrotasks, and Microtasks in the Principal Leadership Role

The Shortage of Administrators

Leadership by Teachers

Leadership by Teacher Networks

MCMSC Network: Sample Activities

What We Learned About Leadership Needs

Addressing Sociocultural Needs: Other Sources and Focuses of Leadership

Community-Based Leadership: Project Excel

Community-Based Leadership: Windhover Farm

Using Models to Build the Assessment Bridge


 "Just the kind of bridge we need to span the ideological wars and make schools work for teachers and their students."

Ann Lieberman, Senior Scholar, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching
Visiting Professor, Stanford University

"In her supremely well-written and useful book, Dr. Solomon has woven together historical perspective, research, and her own considerable experience to address reforming schools in the 21st Century.  After defining the problem (productive change), Dr. Solomon has examined "old" solutions and conceptualized new ones to create better schools for students.  She has focused the reader's attention on critical issues to be addressed--restructuring curriculum around assessment to inform instruction; selecting, training, and retaining the best teachers; and developing shared leadership--and has offered useful and practical suggestions to address them."

Dr. Nancy Goldman, Director of Curriculum
Pearl River School District; Pearl River, NY

"Standards and implementation of the learning process go hand in hand. The Assessment Bridge makes us clearly aware of the present need for a bridge between the two so that standards may not create greater failure and the rejection of formal education by many children."

Matthew Foley, Pastor
Epiphany Roman Catholic Church; Brooklyn, NY

"This book presents the needed material to follow from Dr. Solomon’s work on standards and curriculum. It completes the bridge from goals to accountability by introducing a better understanding of assessment. It will allow educators to better comprehend the key instructional issues that we face."

Jason P. Friedman, Superintendent of Schools
East Ramapo Central School District, New York

"Dr. Solomon's latest is, once again, a gem.  The Assessment Bridge offers a wealth of concrete tools and examples to support schools, administrators, and teachers in providing meaningful student learning experiences in (and despite) a high-stakes testing environment.  Her reflections and inquiry on her own teaching and learning experiences are woven throughout, and present a unique context and historical perspective that somehow make this task possible.  It will be high on my list of recommended resource books."

Alysan Slighter, Associate in Education Improvement Services
New York State Education Department

Pearl Gold Solomon

Pearl G. Solomon is professor emerita of teacher education at St. Thomas Aquinas College in Sparkill, New York. She has served as a director and officer for professional organizations and as a consultant to many school districts, the New York State Education Department, and the United States Department of Education. Solomon is the recipient of a number of special awards from the state and community for her work in science, math, health, and career education. More About Author

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