. "8 Implications and Recommendations for Research, Policy, and Practice." Knowing What Students Know: The Science and Design of Educational Assessment. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2001.
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Knowing What Students Know: The Science and Design of Eduacational Assessment
edge from the cognitive and measurement sciences could be used to enhance the assessment in significant ways.
Second, once an assessment is well understood, its effectiveness as a tool for measurement and for support of learning must be explored and documented. The committee strongly believes that the examples in this report represent promising directions for further development, and where available, has presented empirical support for their effectiveness. However, there is a strong need for additional empirical studies aimed at exploring which tools are most effective and why, how they can best be used, and what costs and benefits they entail relative to current forms of assessment.
Third, while it is important to carefully analyze each of the examples as a separate instance of innovative design, they also need to be analyzed as a collective set of instances within a complex “design space.” The latter can be thought of as a multivariate environment expressing the important features that make specific instances simultaneously similar and different. This design space is only partially conceived and understood at the present time. Thus, analyses should be pursued that cut across effective exemplars with the goal of identifying and clarifying the underlying principles of the new science of assessment design. In this way, the principles described in this report can be refined and elaborated while additional principles and operational constructs are uncovered. If a new science of assessment grounded in concepts from cognitive and measurement science is to develop and mature, every attempt must be made to uncover the unique elements that emerge from the synthesis of the foundational sciences. This work can be stimulated by further in-depth analysis of promising design artifacts and the design space in which they exist.
Recommendation 5: Federal agencies and private-sector organizations concerned about issues of assessment should support the establishment of multidisciplinary discourse communities to facilitate cross-fertilization of ideas among researchers and assessment developers working at the intersection of cognitive theory and educational measurement.
Many of the innovative assessment practices described in this report were derived from projects funded by the NSF or the James S.McDonnell Foundation. These organizations have provided valuable opportunities for cross-fertilization of ideas, but more sharing of knowledge is needed. Many of the examples exist in relative isolation and are known only within limited circles of scientific research and/or educational practice. The committee believes there are enough good examples of assessments based on a merger of the cognitive and measurement sciences so that designers can start building from existing work. However, a discourse among multidisciplinary commu-