"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Thursday, May 29, 2008

See What Comes After the Testocracy

When the current testing hysteria subsides, the work of CES will be critical in establishing or re-establishing meaningful learning environments that include multiple assessment methods for multiple learning tasks.

See part of the future tomorrow.

Beyond “The Big Test”: Coalition of Essential Schools Webcast Highlights Exhibitions as a Better Assessment Method

WHAT: Streaming webcast of a student’s Graduation Exhibition to a panel of evaluators and guests as part of National Exhibition Month

WHEN: Friday, May 30th, 2:00 p.m. Eastern, 11:00 a.m. Pacific

WHERE: Log onto: http://shows.implex.tv/Qwikcast/router.aspx?WebcastID=1281

Oakland, CA: The Coalition of Essential Schools (CES), the nation’s oldest and largest school reform organization, hosts a unique web event on Friday, May 30th, allowing educators, policy makers, parents and students to see, in action, the power of exhibitions as a means of assessing student learning. Exhibitions are presentations in the tradition of the PhD defense that provide a powerful alternative to machine-graded testing, not only better measuring but also dramatically improving student achievement and 21st-century skill development.

On Friday, May 30th, at 2:00 pm ET, CES will webcast an exhibition that occurred earlier in May in which a student presents her Graduation Exhibition to a panel of evaluators and guests that determines whether she has met proficiency requirements (http://shows.implex.tv/Qwikcast/router.aspx?WebcastID=1281). The web event marks the end of National Exhibition Month, during which students from over 100 schools nationwide presented their research findings and analysis to panels of expert judges and to community audiences. During the webcast, CES Executive Director Lewis Cohen will be available to answer questions about the exhibition in real time.

Gail Stafford, a senior at Francis W. Parker Essential School in Devens, Massachusetts, is the featured student in the webcast. Her exhibition is the culminating presentation of her year-long senior project that applies Professor Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences to an analysis of modern dance, integrating the theory in an original choreography. A question-and-answer segment with her evaluating panel further tests her ability to think on her feet and defend her work.

Unlike machine-graded assessments that test textbook memorization, exhibitions require students to develop and use a wide range of high-level analytical and communication skills – the very skills, experts say, that pave the way for college and career success.

Many states, looking to address the limitations of NCLB, are exploring adoption of performance-assessment as a means to not only better measure but also improve student achievement. Exhibitions require students to think critically and present publicly – skills that are needed for success in the 21st century. Rhode Island is the first state to take the practice of exhibitions, as pioneered by CES, to scale. This spring marks the first time seniors across the state of Rhode Island will demonstrate their learning as a requirement for graduation. The exhibition webcast, say organizers, is an opportunity to see this promising reform, under consideration across a number of states, in action.

The Coalition of Essential Schools is an education reform organization dedicated to transforming American public education so that every child in every neighborhood, regardless of race or class, attends a personalized, equitable, and intellectually challenging school. Education reforms pioneered by CES have become common currency in policy debates around the country. The organization's growing network includes over 300 diverse schools in 36 states.

For additional information, please contact Ramon Calhoun, (510) 433-1924, rcalhoun@essentialschools.org

For more information about Exhibitions please see

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