ERIC Number: ED338703
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991-Dec
Reference Count: N/A
The Case against a National Test. ERIC/TM Digest.
Davey, Lynn; Neill, Monty
This document argues that current efforts to establish a national test to measure progress toward the nation's educational goals will inhibit, rather than advance, educational reform. Proponents of a national test have asked for single, primarily multiple-choice tests, or for performance assessments to measure progress toward the nation's educational goals, but national testing proposals are based on the fallacy that measurement will induce positive change in education. Evidence from standardized examinations in the United States has not confirmed improvement resulting from multiple-choice testing. Performance assessments offer the possibility of real improvement, but should not be transformed into a national examination system at this time. Several issues should be resolved before it is reasonable to consider a national system: (1) the lack of consensus on practices and outcomes; (2) the fact that testing alone will not improve education; and (3) the need to address equity, an overall education information system, a test of the technology and benefits of score comparison, who will be in charge, and the consequences of a national standard-setting body. The following steps are recommended to improve education and assessment: (1) the Federal Government should assist states and districts with the development of performance assessments, teacher education and staff development, and the development and dissemination of model curricula, standards, and assessments; (2) re-examine cases in which the Federal Government requires multiple-choice testing, particularly for the Chapter 1 program; (3) consider assessment not in isolation but as part of a comprehensive educational information system; and (4) require that any assessment system be evaluated on the basis of extensive experience at the state and district levels. It is concluded that school reform, not more testing, is what students need. There are three references. (SLD)
Publication Type: ERIC Publications; Reports - Evaluative; ERIC Digests in Full Text
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: ERIC Clearinghouse on Tests, Measurement, and Evaluation, Washington, DC.
Identifiers: ERIC Digests
Note: Paper based on testimony presented by M. Neill to the Subcommittee on Select Education, House of Representatives.