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Perspectives on Alternative Assessment Reform

Andy Hargreaves, Lorna Earl and Michele Schmidt
American Educational Research Journal
Vol. 39, No. 1 (Spring, 2002), pp. 69-95
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3202471
Page Count: 27
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Perspectives on Alternative Assessment Reform
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Abstract

This article examines classroom assessment reform from four perspectives: technological, cultural, political, and postmodern. Each perspective highlights different issues and problems in the phenomenon of classroom assessment. The technological perspective focuses on issues of organization, structure, strategy, and skill in developing new assessment techniques. The cultural perspective examines how alternative assessments are interpreted and integrated into the social and cultural context of schools. The political perspective views assessment issues as being embedded in and resulting from the dynamics of power and control in human interaction. Here assessment problems are caused by inappropriate use, political and bureaucratic interference, or institutional priorities and requirements. Last, the postmodern perspective is based on the view that in today's complex and uncertain world, human beings are not completely knowable and that "authentic" experiences and assessments are fundamentally questionable. Using a semi-structured interview protocol, teachers were asked about their personal understanding of alternative forms of assessment; about how they had acquired this understanding; how they integrated changes into their practices; what these practices looked like; what successes and obstacles they encountered during implementation; and what support systems had been provided for them.

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