Redesigning Testing: Operationalizing the New Science of Learning

  • Zachary Stein
  • Theo Dawson
  • Kurt W. Fischer


Complex standardized testing infrastructures have come to shape most educational systems. With so many people taking so many tests, we must seriously begin to ask, what are we measuring? and what is worth measuring? This chapter presents the work of a research group that has begun to use the latest in computer technology and learning science to build tests that are both standardized and formative, grounded in research about learning, and richly educative. Fischer’s Dynamic Skill Theory provides a framework for modeling the diverse learning sequences and developmental pathways that characterize how real individuals in real-world contexts learn and develop. Dawson’s Lectical™ Assessment System is a psychometrically validated domain-general developmental assessment system. These two sophisticated outgrowths of contemporary learning science are being employed in an effort to design a new kind of testing infrastructure, an effort known as the DiscoTest™ Initiative. In this chapter we describe these efforts and explore how these specific advances in research and design will change the practice of testing, beyond using standardized tests as mere sorting mechanism and toward the use of tests as educative aids.


Student Performance Test Design Learning Sequence Sorting Mechanism Reflective Judgment 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Developmental Testing ServiceLCCNorthamptonUSA
  2. 2.Harvard University Graduate School of EducationCambridgeUSA

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