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Testing Today, Interviewing Tomorrow

Newsletter • volume 1 • number 4

Business Week recently reported that, "The school reform movement, with President Bush as its cheerleader-in-chief, is gaining momentum across the country. A key element of many plans is an overhaul of the way students are evaluated. As an alternative to standardized tests, reform-minded educators are advocating a very different sort of examination, called performance assessment. Instead of fill-in-the-blank questions, exams consist of essays, real-life math problems, and scientific experiments ­ and they're graded by human teaches, not computers."

Following are excerpts from a performance assessment exam used in Vermont public schools to test fourth graders.

Directions: You have 90 minutes to work on a paper that tells about an experience you had in the past. Read the writing task and think about the subject.

Writing Task: Think about a time when you felt happy, scared, surprised, or proud. Tell about it so the reader will understand what happened.


As these students learn to handle open-ended questions in school exams, they will also be more confident and effective when hearing them in job interviews. Eventually, interviewers will start to meet more savvy candidates who are tested in school for thinking ability and will be applying it in job interviews.