Where to Go for More on Exhibitions and Demonstrations of Mastery

The National Center for Fair and Open Testing (FairTest) is among the nation’s leading opponents of high stakes standardized testing and its current (mis)use. In addition to leading the charge to influence local, state, and national policy to support more humane and educationally sound environments for teaching and learning, FairTest also features documentation of alternatives to high-stakes testing, mostly within its Assessment Reform Network (ARN) section. A state-by-state guide to groups that are advocating for authentic performance-based assessment, the ARN provides useful connections to like-minded educators, parents, and other local activists. Other FairTest resources, such as its list of institutions of higher education that are opting out of requiring SATs and other standardized assessments, will also prove useful to Essential school educators.

342 Broadway
Cambridge, MA 02139
phone: 617.864.4810

The New York Performance Standards Consortium
The New York Performance Standards Consortium (NYPSC) is a group of nearly 30 New York state schools that has won the legal right to use performance based measures to assess students and their schools. The NYPSC website explains how the group used advocacy and activism to win this battle and offers a range of practical tools to support authentic assessment. NYPSC’s work is particularly useful to those in the CES network that want to find ways to make Exhibitions work not only in individual schools but as a widespread system of assessment, with reliable, standards-aligned expectations for student work that are consistent not only from student to student but from school to school across a diverse spectrum. Other resources, such as links to parent and student advocacy groups, make the NYPSC’s work an indispensable asset.

The New York Performance Standards Consortium
phone: 212.570.5394
email: info@performanceassessment.org

The Learning Record
The Learning Record is a classroom-based, standards-referenced approach to assessment which supports meaningful teaching and learning while providing public accountability for student progress and educator effectiveness. Looking at evidence of learning across five dimensions—confidence and independence, knowledge and understanding, skills and strategies, use of prior and emerging experience, and critical reflection—the Learning Record provides a way for teachers and students themselves to deal with the nuanced, complex world of work that represents student learning and growth. Teachers download the Learning Record for use with tracking student work and their assessments; the web site functions as a comprehensive guide to the Learning Record system. The Learning Record has the potential to be a powerful, valuable tool for Essential school educators and students—indeed, it is built on the very “CES” premise that students need to take an active role in evaluating their own growth and development.

The Learning Record
Peg Syverson, Ph.D.
Division of Rhetoric and Writing
University of Texas at Austin
1 University Station, B5500
Austin, TX 78705
phone: 512.471.8734
email: syverson@uts.cc.utexas.edu

Authentic Education
Authentic Education is the organization founded by former CES staffer Grant Wiggins and associates to support Understanding by Design (UbD). UbD—also a book by Wiggins and Jay McTighe, published by the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD)—is well known within and outside of the CES network for the practice of collaborative “backward planning” to develop curriculum and assessment methods to deepen student understanding. The Authentic Education website is a useful port of entry into the UbD empire, with links to the organization’s online journal Big Ideas and the Understanding by Design Exchange. Both fee-for-service sites, Big Ideas and the UbD Exchange are emphatically practitioner-based, using educators’ experience and classroom wisdom to suggest new practices across the curriculum and among different kinds of learners. The Authentic Education site also provides information about UbD professional development opportunities. It’s useful both to old UbD hands and those that are new to the idea that comprehensive collaborative planning is essential for effective authentic assessment and other practices associated with locally-controlled, student-centered, standards-based teaching and learning.

Authentic Education
P.O. Box 148
Hopewell, NJ 08525-0148
phone: 732.329.0641
Big Ideas:
Understanding by Design Exchange: