According to The Educated Guess, Linda Darling-Hammond — education researcher, author, and professor — will be giving a public briefing today in Washington, D.C. on an effort she is working on with the majority of states to revamp the current standardized testing regimen most of us have to use.

She, and the states that support her effort to win a $160 million grant to develop new tests (I’m assuming this is part of the Obama Administration’s effort that I wrote about in So This Is What Obama Was Talking About…) from the Department of Education.

In one of her briefing papers, Assess Beyond Basic Skills, she explains that new tests need to be developed that use “performance assessment.” This is how she defines it:

For many people, performance assessment is most easily defined by what it is not:specifically, it is not multiple-choice testing. In a performance assessment, ratherthan choosing among pre-determined options, students must construct an answer,produce a product, or perform an activity. From this perspective, performance assessment encompasses a very wide range of activities, from completing a sentence with a few words (short-answer), to writing a thorough analysis (essay), to conducting and analyzing a laboratory investigation (hands-on).

Because they allow students to construct or perform an original response rather than just recognizing a potentially right answer out of a list provided, performance assessments can measure students’ cognitive thinking and reasoning skills and their ability to apply knowledge to solve realistic, meaningful problems.

Let’s hope her group wins the grant!