ERIC Number: ED340780
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991-Sep
The Misuse of Tests in Education.
Test misuse is neither isolated nor recent. It is a problem that cannot be easily solved. While test misuse may be reduced or managed, it cannot be eliminated. Test misuse has cut across America's social, economic, and political institutions, including schools. The most flagrant abuse of a test is what happens to the results of the Scholastic Aptitude Test, which has not been designed to evaluate schools or teachers, but which is commonly used for these purposes. Much test misuse stems from media-induced hypersensitivity to student performance. Historic and social factors explain why policymakers and administrators under pressure from public officials and angry citizens slipped into using tests improperly. Two negative consequences have been the use of tests by policymakers as remote-control devices to alter instruction and the spread of test-score pollution, the growing meaninglessness of test scores. Several specific suggestions to alleviate, but not eliminate the problem of test misuse, are: (1) recognize that test abuse is a response to dilemmas in the public schools; (2) abolish policies mandating particular tests; (3) reject proposals for national examinations such as those called for in America 2000; and (4) provide funds to develop and pilot unorthodox tests designed to have students demonstrate understanding through actual performance. (SLD)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Congress of the U.S., Washington, DC. Office of Technology Assessment.
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Contractor report prepared for the Office of Technology Assessment titled "Testing in American Schools: Asking the Right Questions." For related document, see TM 018 025.