Next-Generation Assessments

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Science  12 Nov 2010:
Vol. 330, Issue 6006, pp. 890
DOI: 10.1126/science.1199897

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Spurred by its poor performance on international tests, the United States is now embarked on a new round of education standards development. Common Core State Standards have been released in English language arts and mathematics, and a draft framework for science education standards from the U.S. National Research Council provides a complex conception of scientific reasoning practices that are integrated with principled understanding of science content. These ambitious standards aim at problem-solving and knowledge application and are urgently needed, but will fail if lessons from the past go unheeded. In the United States, tests—not standards—determine what gets taught, and these tests must change dramatically.