ASSESSMENT 2000 (A2k) was established (2001) to disseminate sociocultural research and products related to an alternative assessment model, coined the Opportunity Model. A2k is the living capstone deliverable for this research program supported by the U.S. Dep't of Ed/Office of Education Research and Improvement (OERI), around the turn of the millennium. This project incorporated the research trends of dynamic assessment, response to intervention, and cultural and linguistic influences on cognition and learning that were emerging at this time.
The essence of the Opportunity Model is to provide appropriate academic, behavioral, and cognitive intervention, along with socioculturally-based alternative assessment methods, to identify exceptional culturally and linguistically diverse students for special education. The purpose of ASSESSSMENT 2000 is to disseminate research findings, package sociocultural research into products, and distribute products for application by practitioners in the fields of education and psychology. Hence the motto, "from research to products for practice".
It is envisioned that sociocultural research and related products will gain prominence in the fields of education and psychology over the next century. The population of school children in this country is significantly changing and assessment tools and practices are needed to appropriately serve the emerging cultural and linguistic diversity in classrooms.
The moniker ASSESSMENT 2000 was conceived to capture the assessment trends at the turn of the millennium, as well as, the potential scope of the research, development, and application of socioculturally-based assessment products over the next century.
The Opportunity Model is a construct with origins in a research project discovered by Directors of the U.S. Dep't of Education/OERI at the Center for Research on Education, Diversity and Excellence (CREDE) inaugural conference in 1996. This project was subsequently funded by a national research center collaborative grant which supplemented two national research centers, (CREDE/UCSC and CRESST/UCLA) and provided five years of funding for two research projects on alternative assessment for culturally and linguistically diverse students. These projects were CREDE Projects 6.2: Socioculturally-Based Alternative Assessment of Cognitive Competence for Schooling, and 6.3: Alternative Assessment for Exceptional for Schooling which were housed and administered by UCSC/Social Science Division/CREDE.
The Opportunity Model was formulated in response to a request from a federal supervisor to shape the essence of Project 6.2 into an alternative model to the 'deficit model' for special education. Thus the Opportunity Model was devised to incorporate a dynamic approach to assessment for special education purposes, and providing students with the opportunity to practice school-skills before labeling them with a learning disability.
The theoretical foundations of this research program are based on the Cultural-Historical Theory (C-H Theory) of L.S. Vygotsky and A.R. Luria, which lends a compromise to the nature-nurture debate. The dynamic assessment designed, researched and developed as part of this work, incorporates the C-H theory, as well as, the related 40 years of neuropsychological research of A.R. Luria. Luria's work investigates the nature and nurture influences on the development of basic psychological processing and provides support for the validity of the C-H Theory.
The Opportunity Model was created to apply the C-H Theory and neuropsychological research to the challenge of nondiscriminatory assessment for culturally and linguistically diverse students. It also proposes the original concepts of 'cognitive nurturance', to describe educational practices that can develop basic psychological processing skills required for academic achievement, the 'opportunity niche' for the appropriate comparison group for a nondiscriminatory alternative assessment approach, and 'teachability', a sociocultural alternative to the notion of IQ.
The Opportunity Model project was examined and evaluated at the CREDE Midterm Review by outside reviewers, appointed by OERI. They concluded and reported the work as "a significant line of work for the entire program of CREDE, scientifically valid and rigourous, sufficient size, scope and depth to produce guidance for future reseach, ... and meets high professional standards". The CREDE Project 6.3 Research Report was published in the Handbook of Psychology (2003, 2012) which highlighted the coined concepts of teachability, opportunity niche, and cognitive nurturance. The dynamic assessment developed as part of this research project (PASS+S Dynamic Assessment) was reviewed in the volume "Current Trends in Dynamic Assessment" (Lidz & Elliott, 2000). The Principal Investigator, Dr. Sybil Kline, was awarded "International Research Scientist of the Year" by Cambridge Biographical Society, after research presentations of this work in Europe (ISCRAT, Denmark 1998, and IACE, Finland, 2001).
This A2k website is a tool to disseminate Opportunity Model research findings and alterntaive assessment test development projects, as requested by the CREDE Federal Midterm Review team. Their report (see link below) stated that "efforts should be devoted to 'getting the word out' about the test development project ... particulary to a variety of audiences: educational researchers and professionals, communication sciences, special education, policy-makers, education leaders, professional organizations representing teachers and administrators, among others".
The federal report concluded that this alternative assessment research project "is a signifiicant line of work for the entire program and CREDE, since virtually all projects include limited English-speaking students, some of whom may also have some learning limitations". It also envisioned that "The new instrument (PASS+S Dynamic Assessment) is expected to contribute to the development and advancement of theory on the assessment of at-risk students, and in particular, how an alternative assessment tool may be used with limited English speaking students to validly determine their level of cognitive functioning. Future efforts could include ... dissemination and outreach efforts, including training in the use of the PASS+S".
The ASSESSMENT 2000 website is an effort to "get the word out" about this socioculturally-based alternative assessment research and test development program. The purpose of this research page is to provide peer reviewed research publications and paper presentations on the Opportunity Model, related projects, and alternative assessment products. The following are references and links to selected research reports, reviews, papers, and proceedings currently available online or for download. Additional material will be included here as it becomes available.
CREDE Midterm Review, OERI (1998), Project 6.2,6.3 Sociocultural Approach to Nondiscriminatory Assessment of Exceptional Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students, P.I. Sybil R. Kline, Assistant Research Professor, UCSC
Kline, S.R. & McIntyre, E. (1999). The Relationship Among Instruction, Cognition, and Culture of Rural Children of Appalachian Descent. Paper presented for the Cultural-Historical SIG Symposium at the international meeting of the American Education Research Association, Montreal, Canada.
John-Steiner, Vera (2003). Sociocultural Contexts of Teaching/Learning. In I.B. Irving, et.al. (Eds.) Handbook of Psychology, Vol. 7, Educational Psychology (p. 146). John Wiley and Sons [On-Line] Available: search terms "Sybil Kline" and "Handbook of Psychology"
Kline, S.R (1999) Socioculturally-Based Alternative Assessment of Cognitive Competence for Schooling. Center for Applied Linguistics/CREDE. Available [On-Line] http://www.cal.org/crede/projects/assessment.html
Kline, S.R. (1998). PASS+S Dynamic Assessment: An Alternative Assessment of Cognitive Competence for Schooling. Proceedings of the Linguistic Minority Research Institute Conference. [On-Line] Available at: www.lmri.ucsb.edu/evenets/98_conf/kline.html