These days it seems lots of "Education Reformers" and politicians what to assess students (and teachers) through more and more standardized tests. But that's not how we assess someone at their job. People are assessed in their jobs in their performance on the tasks for their job. We should do the same for students. We need to assess their ability to complete tasks and apply what they have learned to more than some multiple choice, standardized, made by some big corporation test.
I wrote about this as applied to teacher evaluations too.
How do we do that? Through authentic assignments and projects for the class they are in. Projects can be done in any class, for any subject, at any grade level. Have the students do activities and projects that are just like what they would do if they were in a job or profession that uses the concepts they are learning. Mathematician, engineer, scientist, historian, journalist, cook, translator, accountant, etc. Do the tasks that these professions do. That's how we assess EMS students - we assess them actually performing the tasks that they will do as an EMT or Paramedic.
Have the students create something, investigate something, apply subject matter to something. Instead of just writing a book report, analyze the book they read and apply the topics/themes/message to something else. Have students create a study guide for other students. Create a presentation, video, web site, of a concept or topic. In STEM classes, do hands-on research projects that then create something, apply concepts, or solve a problem. Have students write a persuasive letter to a politician. Create a public information pamphlet. Apply science concepts to an invention or to solve a local problem.
Not only will the students apply what they have learned, they will also gain a better understanding of the topics, and will learn other important skills, such as teamwork and problem solving.
There are so many ways that students can be assessed without written tests. The professional educators in the classroom with the students can use these projects to assess the students and determine if they have learned the material and understand it. The educator can then modify the teaching and learning based on the results. Corporate standardized testing doesn't help the teacher help the student with their misconceptions.
What are your thoughts on this?