ERIC Number: ED446050
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2000
What English Educators Have To Say to Assessment Specialists.
This paper discusses the hazards of using standardized assessment in English/language arts. Using standardized tests to measure student competency with language is problematic because of inattention to what counts as appropriate language usage. Standardized tests reify textbook language usage only and do not distinguish between correct and stylistically appropriate language. Assessment of literature typically involves a brief passage from a story followed by questions asking the student to identify themes or key facts. Though it is important to be able to make sense of a text before doing other things with it, it is those other things that are primarily beneficial in reading the literature. Those other things would be difficult to assess with conventional standardized testing. Writing is not always part of the assessment because it cannot be machine graded. Grading is done by a cadre of raters who score papers in reasonably similar ways. However, good writing in one context might be viewed as bad in another. It is questionable to claim that a student's production in response to a prompt will yield writing that raters can sensitively evaluate according to a common rubric. Also, quality writing usually occurs over time, not in a high-pressure situation. (SM)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A