ERIC Number: ED397123
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1996-Apr-9
Reference Count: N/A
Semantics, Psychometrics, and Assessment Reform: A Close Look at "Authentic" Tests.
Terwilliger, James S.
Advocates for change in educational assessment recommend that assessments of achievement should be designed to reflect real-life performance more precisely than traditional standardized tests can. This paper raises questions about the claims that are frequently made by advocates of assessment reform. It is agreed that assessment practices are in need of reform, but there is a danger that useful and appropriate assessment methods will be discarded in a rush to adopt techniques of unknown psychometric and educational quality. Alternative assessment approaches should be adopted in conjunction with more traditional forms of assessment as evidence of their educational and psychometric value becomes available. Terms like "authentic" or "real-life" should be reserved for advertising copy and avoided in scholarly discussions of educational assessment. The concept of "authentic" assessment supported by G. Wiggins (1989, 1993) is well-intentioned, but flawed in its confusing terminology and its rejection of the role of knowledge in the assessment of educational outcomes. In addition, the assumption that complex performance-based assessments can be used successfully in large-scale assessments is questionable in light of previous efforts to employ such measures in employment testing. (Contains 12 references.) (SLD)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Large Scale Assessment; Reform Efforts
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the National Council on Measurement in Education (New York, NY, April 8-12, 1996).