Andrea Gabor, The Bloomberg Professor of business journalism at Baruch College of the City University of New York, is one of the nation’s worthy and thoughtful education writers. Her book about W. Edwards Deming has the best refutation of merit pay that I have read (chapter 9, The Man Who Invented Quality). Her latest book book, Education After The Culture Wars, gathers stories of districts where collaboration, not competition, creates a healthy environment for education.

In this post, she argues that America’s infatuation with standardized testing is waning, and it’s time to find a better way to assess how students are progressing.

America’s decades-long infatuation with standardized testing is finally waning, and for good reasons. Despite years of training students to do better on tests, the performance of 17-year-olds on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, also known as the nation’s report card, has flatlined. At the same time, the focus on testing produced unintended consequences, including inattention to important educational priorities and growing teacher shortages.

That’s in part because test performance became a goal in many districts instead of a means to an end and, thus, a prime example of Campbell’s Law, which points to the corrupting influence of using a single measurement as a target, thus ensuring that “it ceases to be a good measure.

Gabor says there is a better way. She describes the work of the New York Performance Standards Consortium as a model.

The country’s best under-the-radar experiments are a useful guide. Chief among these is the New York State Performance Standards Consortium, a decades-old effort led by progressive educators and involving 38 high schools, which won exemptions from all standardized tests except English. Instead, students complete ambitious projects known as performance-based assessments — think mini theses with lots of research, writing and real-world projects in everything from social studies to physics, which students present to expert panels, including teachers (often from different schools) and community members.

Since launching in the 1990s, the consortium has racked up far higher graduation rates and college matriculation ratesfor its schools than New York’s traditional public schools.

The consortium prevailed even as New York became Exhibit A for the nation’s testing follies. New York adopted “Common Core-aligned” tests before the standards were completed, and introduced new tests almost every year — making it difficult to track student progress.

Is she right? Is there a big change coming?