Re: Joan O. Dawson-Opening Statement

Date: Thu Mar 02 2000 - 17:13:55 EST

  • Next message: "Re: Equity in Educational Assessment"

    In reply to:Ina Mogensen

    One of the purposes of assessment is to improve the learning for all
    students. Unfortunately, it has for minority students been a barrier or a
    hurdle to learning. In fact, assessments have resulted in tracking,
    labeling, inappropriate representation of minorities in special education
    classes across the country and in gifted and talented and honors programs.
    Emeritus Edmund Gordon wrote, " We begin with the conviction that it is
    desirable that attention be given to the questions of equity early in the
    development of an assessment process rather than as an add-on near the end
    of such work... The challenge for teachers and others who are truly
    concerned about equity for all students in to find assessment measures
    which measure the same criterion from contexts and perspectives which
    reflect the life space and values of the student.

    To specifically address your question of the implications of a vast number
    of gifted and talented minority students not being identified, is that
    these students end up being the discipline problems, the drop-outs or the
    average performers because of the lack of challenging and exciting
    engagement in the classrooms. The implication is that the culture of the
    student is a very dominant factor that should be taken into consideration
    when attempting to evaluate and assess.
    Robert Linn says, "The criterion of equity needs to be applied to any
    assessment. It is a mistake to assume that shifting from standardized
    tests to performance-based assessments will eliminate concerns about biases
    against racial/ethnic minorities or that such a shift will necessarily lead
    to equality of performance. I would add that this is also true to some
    extent as females move into areas that have been traditionally male
    oriented. Performance gaps exist all over the country between certain
    groups of students. Those gaps exist because of a lack of sensitivity to
    the degree of exposure, motivation, attitude toward the dominant culture
    and other factors that have nothing to do with ability. On the side of the
    assessor, the performance based assessments are guided by expectation
    level, relationship with students and general point of reference, that is
    sometimes far different from that of the student being assessed. I hope
    this statement sheds some light on my opening statement.

    Joan O. Dawson
    New York University Equity Assistance Center
    82 Washington Square E. Suite 72
    NYC, 10003
    (212) 998-5116

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