ERIC Number: ED329574
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1990-Nov
Reference Count: N/A
Estimating the Costs and Benefits of Large-Scale Assessments: Lessons from Recent Research.
Catterall, James S.
The costs and benefits of recent statewide and nationwide educational assessment programs are examined. The purpose of this paper is to present and substantiate some critical lessons and observations concerning: how the costs and benefits of large-scale assessments (LSAs) can be appraised, and the utility of this type of research to policymakers and educators. It is concluded that: (1) the classic cost-benefit analysis (CBA) model cannot underwrite a comprehensive analysis of LSAs; (2) CBA principles can be applied to a subset of all effects and, thus, contribute to an appraisal of the worth of LSAs; (3) the classic cost-effectiveness analysis (CEA) model is suited to a comprehensive analysis of LSAs, but the nature of LSAs limits the use of CEA in practice; (4) the traditional problems of inferring program effects in complex systems affect CBA and CEA studies of LSAs; (5) commonly held assumptions regarding educational assessment promote widespread beliefs that certain benefits will follow from its practice; (6) the benefits of LSAs depend heavily on the uses made of assessment information; (7) the costs of LSAs typically far exceed their published budgets; and (8) CBAs of LSAs have the potential to advance educational or economic optima, but LSA policy decision making may seek a political optimum instead. (TJH)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; 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.