ERIC Number: ED333008
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991-Apr-11
Reference Count: 0
Using Performance Assessment for Accountability Purposes: Some Problems.
Mehrens, William A.
Problems with performance assessment (PA) and multiple-choice tests (MCTs) are outlined, with reference to the literature on accountability. PA for individual teachers who should integrate their assessments with their instruction; PA as a supplement to more traditional examinations for licensure decisions; and some limited, experimental tryouts of PA for other accountability purposes are supported. The anti-MCT demagogues, and making PA the latest fad are not supported. Reasons for PA's popularity include: old (but inaccurate) criticisms of MCTs in terms of bias, irrelevant content, and measurement of only recognition; cognitive psychologists' belief that many parameters that they want to study require formats other than MCT questions; increased concern that MCTs delimit the domains that should be assessed; wide publicity of the Lake Wobegon effect of teaching too closely to MCTs; and claims that teaching to MCT formats has deleterious instructional/learning effects. PA problems vary depending on several dimensions, such as secure versus non-secure assessments, matrix versus every student assessment, and accountability versus instruction. PAs have difficulty meeting the five "apple" criteria required of high-stakes tests used for accountability purposes: administrative feasibility, professional credibility, public acceptability, legal defensibility, and economical affordability. It is concluded that MCTs measure some things very well and efficiently; however, they do not measure everything and their use can be overemphasized. PAs can measure important objectives that cannot easily be measured by MCTs. A 52-item list of references is included. (RLC)
Descriptors: Accountability, Comparative Analysis, Educational Assessment, Elementary Secondary Education, Evaluation Problems, Licensing Examinations (Professions), Literature Reviews, Multiple Choice Tests, Performance Based Assessment, Student Evaluation, Teacher Certification, Teacher Evaluation, Test Use, Testing Problems
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper abridged from a paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (Chicago, IL, April 3-7, 1991).