The Bell Curve is Nonsense
Some humans used to really think the world was flat. When it comes to education in the U.S., a flawed and harmful idea known as the “Bell Curve” has dominated how we think about school and assessment. The burden of the bell curve has prevented us from supporting all young people and creating the conditions for them to succeed. Two stories together create a powerful picture of how educators are updating their practices and finally putting an end to the bell curve and advancing authentic and performance-based assessments.
The Bell Curve is Nonsense illustrates how the things we have assumed to be true have resulted in us distorting, and limiting, human potential. The Power of Performance Assessments shows what incorporating performance assessments in Oakland Unified School District classrooms looks like and sounds like when done well. You’ll hear from students, teachers, and administrators who are working together to find ways to advance more rigorous and relevant learning.
The Bell Curve is Nonsense is a 180 production co-directed by Rob English and Sam Chaltain.
The Power of Performance Assessments is produced by the Learning Policy Institute in collaboration with the Oakland Unified School District.
- To learn more about Oakland’s Graduate Capstone Project, read Oakland’s Graduate Capstone Project: It’s About Equity by Young Whan Choi, OUSD’s manager of performance assessments, and explore a video gallery featuring the reflections of Oakland students, teachers, and school and district administrators.
- Oakland Unified is part of the California Performance Assessment Collaborative, which brings together educators, policymakers, and researchers to study and advance the use of authentic approaches to assessment.
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