Current Issue

What Use Is Educational Assessment?

Guest Editors: Amy I. Berman, Michael J. Feuer, and James W. Pellegrino

Vol. 683, May 2019

Testing tools are taking an increasingly large and often questionable role in American teaching, learning, and schooling. They are used to assess learning and achievement, to influence curriculum and instruction, to hold students and their teachers accountable for results, to guide decisions about placement at various levels of education, and to inform cross-national comparisons of educational systems. But are they appropriate and effective in every one of these uses? How should we assess the effectiveness of our own assessments?

Our political history, a growing regard for evidence-based policymaking, and advances in the science of measurement put testing and assessment at the center of the current discussion about education policy.  The articles collected in the May 2019 volume of The ANNALS focus on the benefits of appropriately used tests and assessment tools, as well as the risks of inappropriate applications; and they look ahead to how the sciences of teaching, learning, and cognition, joined with contemporary theory and technology in measurement, might lead to more appropriate and beneficial uses of assessment.

From the Archives

Truth as a Weapon in the Free World
Vol. 278, November, 1951
Richard Brecker

From the Introduction

In an address to the American Society of Newspaper Editors on April 20, 1950, President Truman declared that it was necessary for us to, “make ourselves heard round the world in a great campaign of truth”.   Calling attention to the vital importance of the psychological front in the present battle for world friendship, the President noted that the task of presenting the truth, “to the millions who are uninformed or misinformed or unconvinced… is not separate and distinct from other elements of our foreign policy. It is as important as armed strength or economic aid.  “We must,” he said, “pool our efforts with those of the other free peoples in a sustained, intensified program to promote the cause of freedom against the propaganda of slavery.”