ERIC Number: ED209762
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1980
Reference Count: 0
Those Achievement Tests--How Useful?
Coffman, William E.
Executive Review, v1 n1 1980
Standardized achievement tests are often misused as indicators of a school's quality or effectiveness relative to other schools. This is an incorrect use because it ignores variation among schools in student abilities, family support of education, student mobility, and other factors. People also misuse tests because they impute to them more statistical reliability and validity than they actually have. An example using the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills illustrates the possibilities for reliability errors with both single tests and retesting over time. The use of norm-referenced tests to evaluate Title I programs, under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, is incorrect because it makes the doubtful assumptions that national norms are valid and that one can compare either different groups of students or students with and without Title I treatment. However, criterion-referenced tests have similar problems--with reliability, neglect of some learning areas and processes, and arbitrary choice of satisfactory performance levels. Hence it is unsound to use criterion-referenced tests alone in minimum competency testing, because the tests do not account for the range of student abilities, the student's employability, or educators' possible failure to solve a student's learning disability. (Author/RW)
Descriptors: Academic Ability, Achievement Tests, Criterion Referenced Tests, Educational Testing, Elementary Secondary Education, Minimum Competency Testing, Norm Referenced Tests, Standardized Tests, Test Interpretation, Test Reliability, Test Theory, Test Use, Testing Problems
Institute for School Executives, University of Iowa, 210 Lindquist Center, Iowa City, IA 52242 ($1.00).
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Collected Works - Serials; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Iowa Univ., Iowa City. Inst. for School Executives.
Identifiers: School Effectiveness
Note: Address delivered at a Testing Conference sponsored by the Midcontinent Regional Educational Laboratory and the Regional Offices of Educational Programs VII and VIII (Kansas City, MO, May 1979).