Department of Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education


Date of this Version

November 1998


Published in: Literature-Based Instruction: Reshaping the Curriculum. Edited by Taffy E. Raphael and Kathryn H. Au. Christopher-Gordon Publishers, Norwood, MA, 1998. pp. 239–260. Copyright © 1998 Christopher-Gordon Publishers. Used by permission.


We have made incredible progress, both conceptually and practically, in the development of literacy assessment tools that appropriately reflect the goals and activities of literature-based reading programs. This progress, however, has not come without obstacles, many of which have not yet been (and may never be) fully negotiated. The purpose of this chapter is to provide an overview of the "promises" we as a literacy assessment community have made to ourselves, as we implement new forms of assessment for new purposes, and to critically evaluate our progress toward keeping those promises. We begin by briefly describing recent shifts in literacy instruction that have prompted us to make a set of promises for better literacy assessment. Second, we lay out the implicit promises we have made to ourselves as we have worked to develop alternative assessment tools and procedures and judge how well these promises have been kept. Finally, we address dilemmas that we will continue to face as we develop new literacy assessment tools and implement them for new purposes.