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The combination of increasing demands for accountability and the desire to measure a variety of complex educational outcomes makes the use of performance assessment an essential addition to the tools used to profile student achievement. Performance assessment in education is valuable for student assessment and for the assessment of teacher and principal performance. Lessons learned to date in the practice of performance assessment include: (1) the need for clear targets; (2) the need for an array of assessment tools; (3) the need for training; (4) cost, time, and technical issues; and (5) issues associated with high-stakes testing, such as restricting curriculum, teaching to the test, and other negative effects. Educators find themselves in a dilemma, caught between the complex outcomes that require performance assessment and the prohibitive costs of such assessments. The instructional usefulness of performance assessment is currently limited, but making teachers partners in the assessment process improves the quality of performance assessment and its instructional usefulness. A major unresolved performance assessment problem is that teachers do not have the training to use all that performance assessment offers. The nation does not appear to have the resources to solve this national problem. There is a 36-item list of references. One table summarizes applications of performance assessment in education. (SLD)

Descriptors: Academic Achievement, Accountability, Curriculum Development, Educational Assessment, Elementary Secondary Education, Evaluation Problems, Higher Education, Measurement Techniques, Outcomes of Education, Performance Based Assessment, Student Evaluation, Teacher Education, Teacher Evaluation, Teacher Role, Test Construction

Autor: Arter, Judith A.; Stiggins, Richard J.


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