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Rethinking the role of reading assessments for real learning

Rethinking the role of reading assessments for real learning Scholars who advocate for equity-oriented educational practices have argued that the accountability era in the USA, now in place for two decades, has failed in its intended goal to improve student performance for traditionally marginalized student populations. This study aims to use a sociocultural lens to trace how a century-old conceptualization of reading – that discrete skills comprise comprehension and that multiple-choice questions can measure mastery of those skills – predominates today’s standardized reading tests.Design/methodology/approachThis essay draws on the authors’ collective experiences as literacy educators, school leaders and researchers.FindingsThe authors critique two beliefs rooted in Eurocentric thinking borne from a long-held conceptualization of reading – that logical reasoning and the right background knowledge can promote achievement on standardized tests. The authors link the critique to their lived experiences and situate test design features in the broader sociopolitical educational landscape. Then, by presenting examples from an urban public high school, the authors encourage educational leaders to revisit the potential of authentic assessments as complex and meaningful activities that foster the critical thinking necessary for participating in democracy.Practical implicationsCommitting to authentic assessments takes the work characteristic of transformative school leadership, especially serving diverse student populations: A clear and ambitious vision that centers social justice and cultural relevance, frequent, shared opportunities for professional growth and shared norms for instructional practice and student growth.Originality/valueThis essay encourages educational leaders, researchers and policymakers to revisit the potential of authentic assessments as tasks that can surpass external measures in informing teachers about how students’ develop their literacy in school. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal for Multicultural Education Emerald Publishing

Rethinking the role of reading assessments for real learning

Journal for Multicultural Education , Volume 15 (3): 14 – Oct 11, 2021

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References (30)

Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
© Emerald Publishing Limited
ISSN
2053-535X
DOI
10.1108/jme-03-2021-0027
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Scholars who advocate for equity-oriented educational practices have argued that the accountability era in the USA, now in place for two decades, has failed in its intended goal to improve student performance for traditionally marginalized student populations. This study aims to use a sociocultural lens to trace how a century-old conceptualization of reading – that discrete skills comprise comprehension and that multiple-choice questions can measure mastery of those skills – predominates today’s standardized reading tests.Design/methodology/approachThis essay draws on the authors’ collective experiences as literacy educators, school leaders and researchers.FindingsThe authors critique two beliefs rooted in Eurocentric thinking borne from a long-held conceptualization of reading – that logical reasoning and the right background knowledge can promote achievement on standardized tests. The authors link the critique to their lived experiences and situate test design features in the broader sociopolitical educational landscape. Then, by presenting examples from an urban public high school, the authors encourage educational leaders to revisit the potential of authentic assessments as complex and meaningful activities that foster the critical thinking necessary for participating in democracy.Practical implicationsCommitting to authentic assessments takes the work characteristic of transformative school leadership, especially serving diverse student populations: A clear and ambitious vision that centers social justice and cultural relevance, frequent, shared opportunities for professional growth and shared norms for instructional practice and student growth.Originality/valueThis essay encourages educational leaders, researchers and policymakers to revisit the potential of authentic assessments as tasks that can surpass external measures in informing teachers about how students’ develop their literacy in school.

Journal

Journal for Multicultural EducationEmerald Publishing

Published: Oct 11, 2021

Keywords: Education; Learning; Pedagogy; Equity

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