Department of Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education



Loukia K. Sarroub

Date of this Version



Published in Inquiries in Literacy Theory and Practice. Copyright National Reading Conference. Used by permission.


Formal assessments have long served as our society's most privileged indices of student learning and school accountability. Hence, both learning and school effectiveness have often been equated with standardized test scores and/or grades. The privilege accorded to external assessment has tended to minimize the role of teachers and, even more dramatically, students in the assessment process. Assessments are external tools that are administered to teachers and students. For teachers, this often leads to a tension between their curricular goals and the assessment measures they must use in the classroom (Mitchell, 1992; Pearson, DeStefano, & Garcia, in press). Students are rarely involved in either the assessment process or the discourse surrounding assessment. They seldom participate in setting standards, determining what counts as evidence for those standards, or deciding what levels of performance indicate mastery or competence.