ERIC Number: EJ791856
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007
Reference Count: 8
Value Added: Back to Basics in Measuring Change
Fulcher, Keston H.; Willse, John T.
Assessment Update, v19 n5 p10-12 Sep-Oct 2007
Value added has emerged as a hot-button topic in the assessment literature, due in large part to the Commission on the Future of Higher Education. Value added, as conceptualized by Astin (1985), reflects talent development, "changes in the student from the beginning to the end of an educational program. These changes can cover a wide range of cognitive and affective attributes". The most straightforward method of addressing value-added questions is through simple change scores. Students take the same or equivalent tests twice, once before they have experienced a higher education intervention (pretest) and again after they have experienced some or all of that intervention (posttest). The difference between the posttest and the pretest scores theoretically indicates student gain or, from another perspective, the value added by an institution. Change scores, however, have been widely criticized and have fallen out of favor in the last few decades. In this article, the authors summarize recent research that suggests that change scores may be a more viable option for value-added assessment than previously believed. Specifically, change scores are not always unreliable, and for some questions about value added, the reliability of individual students' change scores is irrelevant. Remaining reservations are also discussed.
Descriptors: Higher Education, Intervention, Pretests Posttests, Error of Measurement, Scores, Talent Development, Reliability, Accountability, Change
Jossey Bass. Available from John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 111 River Street, Hoboken, NJ 07030-5774. Tel: 800-825-7550; Tel: 201-748-6645; Fax: 201-748-6021; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web site: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/jhome/86511121
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A