Each year, the lives of over 50 million Americans are directly shaped by high stakes standardized testing. Unfortunately, these tests continue—despite claims to the contrary—to drive forms of instruction that prevent most of us from learning optimally. At Lectica, we're returning tests to their rightful place in the natural learning cycle—as sources of rich timely feedback that reward and support optimal learning and teaching.
The hallmarks of our work include the powerful, yet simple, learning model that drives all of our work, assessments that measure and support robust learning, and the first automated developmental scoring system—CLAS.
As a graduate student observing in public school classrooms, our founder, Dr. Dawson was shocked by the stark contrast between the educational experiences available to advantaged versus disadvantaged students. She feared that this contrast was about to deepen, due to the rapidly growing high-stakes testing industry. It seemed clear that these “right answer” focused tests would narrow the curriculum and drive teaching—especially in disadvantaged schools—toward the memorization of facts, vocabulary, and procedures, and away from practices that foster deep understanding and skill. Recognizing that testing drives instruction, Dawson set out to create a radically different testing technology—one intended to drive the kind of teaching that increases engagement while continuously building skills for thinking and learning.
The result of these efforts is a new technology that's used to develop and deliver sophisticated learning tools called Lectical Assessments. Through the DiscoTest Initiative, we plan to deliver these learning tools, free of charge, to individual teachers everywhere.
In the video below, Dr. Dawson describes what research has taught us about the impact of conventional high stakes testing—and the need for the DiscoTest Initiative. If you'd like to dive deeper into our rationale, check out our white paper.