ERIC Number: ED158310
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1977
Reference Count: 0
The Mass Testing of Writing: How Well Is It Being Done?
The validity of current standardized competency tests for writing is in doubt as is the need for such testing at all. Some tests, especially those requiring little writing, may not be testing what they purport to test (content validity). Instructional validity (testing what has actually been taught) raises the issue that what is being tested is precisely the teaching which brought on the demand for testing in the first place. Many states are using tests (such as those produced by the National Assessment of Educational Progress and by the Educational Testing Service) which provide inadequate time for the student to write, provide inadequate motivation for students to write their best, or require students to write on subjects about which they may have little information. Other tests are so simple as not to ensure even marginal literacy or they focus on mechanical skills exclusively. The data which brought about the demand for testing are open to question. Cultural bias on tests, inadequate understanding of test results, and irresponsible use of test data create confusion about literacy levels and make the term "functional illiterate" meaningless. The demand for competency testing comes when a major breakthrough in teaching reading may preview a similar development in teaching writing. The school system in England and the Bay Area Writing Project may provide useable models for teaching and testing writing skills. (TJ) Aspect of National Assessment (NAEP) dealt with in this document: Program Description.
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Educational Testing Service; National Assessment of Educational Progress
Note: Report prepared at the University of New Hampshire