ERIC Number: ED334204
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1989-Mar
Reference Count: 0
Inflated Test Score Gains: Is It Old Norms or Teaching the Test? Effects of Testing Project. Final Deliverable--March 1989.
Shepard, Lorrie A.
It is increasingly recognized, following the lead of J. J. Cannell, that actual gains in educational achievement may be much more modest than dramatic gains reported by many state assessments and many test publishers. An overview is presented of explanations of spurious test score gains. Focus is on determining how test-curriculum alignment and teaching the test influence the meaning of scores. Findings of a survey of state testing directors are summarized, and the question of teaching the test is examined. Some frequently presented explanations refer to norms used; others refer to aspects of teaching the test. Directors of testing from 46 states (four states conduct no state testing) replied to a survey about testing. Forty states clearly had high-stakes testing. The most pervasive source of high-stakes pressure identified by respondents was media coverage. Responses indicate that test-curriculum alignment and teaching the test are distorting instruction. A possible solution is to develop new tests every year, changing the tests rather than the norms. Two tables present explanations for test score inflation and selected survey responses. (SLD)
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing, Los Angeles, CA.
Identifiers: Teaching to the Test; Test Directors
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (San Francisco, CA, March 27-31, 1989).