This particular theory is manifested in the notion of “public answerability” — that is, the idea that the public has a right to expect its resources to be used responsibly and that public institutions are accountable for caretaking the public trust. High-stakes assessments thus serve as evidence that public education is, in essence, responsible and rigorous and further provide symbolic of the system. Despite the fact that these strenuous tests may show which students may be on higher levels than others, and they may show that certain schools are better than others. You cannot deny the fact that these tests may be based on how well you prepare for them and what you can afford to use to prepare for them. Wealthier students can afford more expensive textbook and tutors to prepare for these big tests, others may not have these resources due to their lack of money and wealth which can make these tests very unfair. A simple approach. The same tests, just fewer of ’em. Accountability could be achieved at the district level by administering traditional standardized tests to a statistically representative sampling of students, rather than to every student every year. The major textbook publishers, plus companies like Dreambox, Scholastic and the nonprofit Khan Academy, all sell software for students to practice math and English. These programs register every single answer a student gives.The companies that develop this software argue that it presents the opportunity to eliminate the time, cost and anxiety of “stop and test” in favor of passively collecting data on students’ knowledge over a semester, year or entire school career. Valerie Shute, a professor at Florida State University and former principal research scientist at ETS, coined the term “stealth assessment” to describe this approach. Stealth assessment doesn’t just show which skills a student has mastered at a given moment. The pattern of answers potentially offers insights into how quickly students learn, how diligent they are and other big-picture factors. Applying this approach on a national scale using scientific methods has never been done, in part because the products are still new. It would probably require a large outlay in terms of software, professional training and computer equipment — and would result in a corresponding windfall for companies like Pearson.