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The Role of Assessment Testing in Education

            Now that I am part of the Education team, not just from the outside as a parent, but on the inside as a teacher, I am quickly becoming educated as to how truly important reading and learning to read is to all of us. It is something that most of us take for granted. Now when dealing with hearing all about assessments and the roles assessments play in education I am getting a picture that assessment and reading go together. Before taking education classes I always just though about assessments as far as being the tools, just test and quizzes, that teachers used to gauge their students. I now see that the area of assessment is like a big tree with many branches. This is a very important tree. The importance of assessing reading performance is now standing out differently in my mind. It now includes both formal and informal assessment tools and how they are used. Assessments must be important since most states have some type of yearly formal assessment that is given to students. My issue is whether we can truly gain a clear understanding of what a student knows based on a test that is given only once a year and are these tests accurate. Who benefits from the results of these assessments? I choose this topic because I"m interested as a teacher and as a parent of a middle school aged child. I think this topic is important to the elementary community because of governmental influence in education now. Even on the Texas Education Agency web site you see that Texas is on the bandwagon that 3rd graders should be able to read on grade level or higher by 2003. Hence the new TAKS test this year where 3rd graders must pass before they are promoted to the next grade. So yes assessment and reading go together.
             The first item I read was chapter 5 in the textbook Reading and Learning to Read by Vacca & Vacca. An entire chapter has been devoted to assessing reading performance. The chapter talks about formal, informal and developing portfolio assessments.

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