ERIC Number: ED341733
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1988-Apr
Reference Count: N/A
Mandated Tests: Reform or Quality Indicator?
Baker, Eva L.
The thesis of this paper is that achievement tests have changed their primary function from serving as indicators of educational accomplishments to becoming instruments of educational policy, and have thus come to be regarded as effective means of altering educational achievement and productivity. This assertion is explored by using examples of research and development from state (primarily Colorado and Texas) and national testing activities. The paper also considers how these alternative functions affect system behavior, legitimate policy inferences, the technical requirements of tests, and the understanding of educational quality. On the national testing scene, the attempt to use college entrance examinations like the SAT to rank states on outcomes from best to worst without regard to socioeconomics, mobility, or student ethnicity has begun the transformation of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) from an indicator to a reform effort, partly because state-by-state reporting of test results would undoubtedly drive states to attempt to increase their relative standings. The danger in allowing the NAEP to become a single measure of performance is that it can produce anomalous results. Research analysis of the actual functions of tests should become a regular part of the implementation or strong modification of major testing programs. Two tables, 2 figures, and a 29-item list of references are included. (SLD)
Descriptors: Achievement Tests, Educational Change, Educational Policy, Educational Quality, Elementary Secondary Education, National Programs, National Surveys, Productivity, Standardized Tests, State Programs, Test Use, Testing Problems, Testing Programs
CSE Dissemination Office, UCLA Graduate School of Education, 405 Hilgard Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90024-1521.
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Opinion Papers; Reports - Evaluative
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: Mandated Tests; National Assessment of Educational Progress; Quality Indicators; Reform Efforts