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The Assessment Bridge


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Table of Contents

Foreword - by Ann Lieberman Preface About the Author 1. Defining the Problem: The Historical Context About This Chapter Schools as Transmitters of Culture What Early 20th-Century Schools Were Like My School in Bethel Elementary Schools in Depression-Era New York City Education Beyond the Classroom Schools in the Later 20th Century: A Beginning Teacher IQ Tests and Regents Exams Defining and Dealing With Differences What the Research Told Us Proving My Point: Giving Students Choices Back to Basics Special Education Using History as a Decision Base 2. Schools at the Beginning of the 21st Century: Problems and Proposed Solutions About This Chapter Defining the Problem Proposed Solution One: Defining Educational Standards Proposed Solution Two: School Accountability The Government Response: High-Stake Testing High-Stakes Testing: The Other Stakeholders Respond Proposed Solution Three: Achieveing Equity Through School Choice Proposed Solution Four: Extending the Time for Schooling Time for Enrichment Time for a Good Start Proposed Solution Five: Technology in the Classroom The Research Base for Technology Use Technology as an Assessment Tool and Manager The Current Status of the Use of Technology in Schools Technology for Communicating With Our Public Some Conclusions About Technology in the Classroom 3. Taking the First Steps Toward Productive Change About This Chapter The Variables of Change Vision and Voice History and Setting Bounded Rationality Opportunism and Asset-Specific Investments Step One: Building New Capacity Step Two: Generating Ownership Step Three: Assuming Leadership Step Four: Providing Time for Learning and Change Changing Schools in the Search for a Better Future 4. The Assessment Roadway: How Tests Tell Us What to Do About This Chapter Demonstrating Knowledge Defining Standards and Assessment Rubrics The Task-Specific Rubric The Developmental Rubric Using Rubrics in Formative and Summative Assessment Summative Applications Generating Ownership of Tests Reaching Consensus on Group Summative Scores Matching Distal and Proximal Measures Validity: Does It Fit? Generating Ownership: Begin With Curriculum-Based Proximal Assessments Preparing for the Tests: Curriculum Teaching Proximal Measures Responding to HSSB Analyses What Lies Beneath: Disaggregating Scores Disaggregating for Noninstructional Differences Relationship of Teacher Training and Experience to Student Achievement Other Cultural and School Variables: Confronting the Achievement Gap 5. Responding to High-Stakes, Standards-Based (HSSB) Tests: Restructuring Curriculum About This Chapter Two Alternative Responses to HSSB Tests Alternative One: Starting With the HSSB Test Embedded Concepts Assessment-Responsive Curriculum Adjustments Starting From a Core of HSSB Tests: Applying and Responding to Analysis Alternative Two: Starting With the Standards Responding to Test Data With Curriculum Reconstruction In Conclusion: Assessing Oneself 6. Building a Cohort of the Best Teachers: Recruitment, Engagement, Nurturance About This Chapter About Models Why We Need to Recruit Teachers Where Teachers Used to Come From Why There Is a Current Shortage: The Recruitment Pool Why There Is a Current Shortage: Retention Solving the Prestige Problem: Interdependent Stakeholders Solving the Prestige Problem: Changing the Agenda of Teacher Unions Solving the Prestige Problem: Raising Teacher Salaries The REN Model: Recruiting Heroes The REN Model: Educating Recruits The REN Model: Engagement in Action The REN Model: Engagement in Interaction The REN Model: Nurturing Novices Nurturing Experienced Teachers: The Need for Better Professional Development Motivating Teachers to Participate in Professional Development A Cooperative-Teaching Model How I Learned: Cooperative Teaching Professional-Development Schools: Object Linking and Embedding (OLE) Relationships An Example: The East Ramapo and St. Thomas Aquinas College PDS Engaging in the OLE Process Some General Conclusions About Increasing Teachers' Capacity 7. Searching for Leadership About This Chapter Understanding Leadership and Power Direct and Indirect Messages Evoking Change Leading: Giving Power and Indirect Messages How Educational Leaders Act A Personal Analysis From the Distributive Perspective Shared Leadership and Power The Power of Money, Matches, Tradition, Time, and Place Social Interactions, Macrotasks, and Microtasks in Curriculum Leadership Roles Social Interactions, Macrotasks, and Microtasks in the Principal Leadership Role The Shortage of Administrators Leadership by Teachers Leadership by Teacher Networks MCMSC Network: Sample Activities What We Learned About Leadership Needs Addressing Sociocultural Needs: Other Sources and Focuses of Leadership Community-Based Leadership: Project Excel Community-Based Leadership: Windhover Farm Using Models to Build the Assessment Bridge Epilogue References Index

About the Author

Pearl G. Solomon is professor emerita of teacher education at St. Thomas Aquinas College in Sparkill, New York. She has served as a director and officer for professional organizations and as a consultant to many school districts, the New York State Education Department, and the United States Department of Education. Solomon is the recipient of a number of special awards from the state and community for her work in science, math, health, and career education.


"Just the kind of bridge we need to span the ideological wars and make schools work for teachers and their students."

-- Ann Lieberman, Senior Scholar, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching

"In her supremely well-written and useful book, Dr. Solomon has woven together historical perspective, research, and her own considerable experience to address reforming schools in the 21st Century. After defining the problem (productive change), Dr. Solomon has examined "old" solutions and conceptualized new ones to create better schools for students. She has focused the reader's attention on critical issues to be addressed--restructuring curriculum around assessment to inform instruction; selecting, training, and retaining the best teachers; and developing shared leadership--and has offered useful and practical suggestions to address them."

-- Dr. Nancy Goldman, Director of Curriculum
"Standards and implementation of the learning process go hand in hand. The Assessment Bridge makes us clearly aware of the present need for a bridge between the two so that standards may not create greater failure and the rejection of formal education by many children." -- Matthew Foley, Pastor

"This book presents the needed material to follow from Dr. Solomon's work on standards and curriculum. It completes the bridge from goals to accountability by introducing a better understanding of assessment. It will allow educators to better comprehend the key instructional issues that we face."

-- Jason P. Friedman, Superintendent of Schools

"Dr. Solomon's latest is, once again, a gem. The Assessment Bridge offers a wealth of concrete tools and examples to support schools, administrators, and teachers in providing meaningful student learning experiences in (and despite) a high-stakes testing environment. Her reflections and inquiry on her own teaching and learning experiences are woven throughout, and present a unique context and historical perspective that somehow make this task possible. It will be high on my list of recommended resource books."

-- Alysan Slighter, Associate in Education Improvement Services

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