Using Alternative Assessments in Vocational Education

B. M. Stecher, M. L. Rahn, A. Ruby, M. Alt, A. Robyn, with B. Ward

Alternative assessment is now an especially important issue because both vocational education and educational assessment are undergoing significant changes. In education, enrollment in high school vocational courses is dropping, the nature of vocational students is changing, and employers are calling for applicants who possess skills different from those of the past. In assessment, new forms are gaining popularity, such as performance tasks, portfolios, and senior projects, and assessment is being used more prominently as a policy tool. This report describes a variety of assessment alternatives, reviews examples from six extended case studies, and discusses criteria for choosing among the alternatives. Vocational educators at the local and state level, particularly those responsible for decisions about the form and use of assessment systems, will be especially interested in this report.

MDS-946 / July 1997

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