nities will need to be established to promote and sustain such efforts. As mentioned earlier, this report provides a language and conceptual base for discussing the ideas embedded in existing innovative assessment practices and for the broader sharing and critique of those ideas.


Research often does not directly affect educational practice, but it can effect educational change by influencing the four mediating arenas of the education system that do influence practice, shown previously in Figure 8–1. For the earlier committee that identified these arenas, the question was how to bridge research on student learning and instructional practice in classrooms. The focus of the present committee is on a related part of the larger question: how to link research on the integration of cognition and measurement with actual assessment practice in schools and classrooms. By influencing and working through the four mediating arenas, the growing knowledge base on cognition and measurement can ultimately have an effect on assessment and instructional practice in classrooms and schools.

It is important to note that the path of influence does not flow only in one direction. Just as we believe that research on the integration of cognition and measurement should focus on use-inspired strategic research, we believe that practical matters involving educational tools and materials, teacher education and professional development, education policies, and public opinion and media coverage will influence the formulation of research questions that can further contribute to the development of a cumulative knowledge base. Research focused on these arenas will enhance understanding of practical matters related to how students learn and how learning can best be measured in a variety of school subjects.

Educational Tools and Materials

Recommendation 6: Developers of assessment instruments for classroom or large-scale use should pay explicit attention to all three elements of the assessment triangle (cognition, observation, and interpretation) and their coordination.

  • All three elements should be based on modern knowledge of how students learn and how such learning is best measured.

  • Considerable time and effort should be devoted to a theory-driven design and validation process before assessments are put into operational use.

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