ERIC Number: EJ874619
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Feb
Reference Count: N/A
Tanner, John R.
School Administrator, v67 n2 p31-33 Feb 2010
Large-scale test scores are the most visible representation of what happens in schools in the U.S. The prevailing notion is that they will tell people most of what they need to know about a school, including the quality of instruction and the effectiveness of the teaching and administrative staff. Americans put credence in test scores despite the fact most people would be hard-pressed to explain how tests do whatever it is they do, whether the use is in line with the design and whether the resulting decisions are even valid. This lack of understanding leads many to treat tests and test scores as they were never intended, and the consequences--especially when tied to accountability--are huge. In this article, the author argues that the problem with standardized testing in schools is that the tests feed an accountability system which answers the wrong questions well and the right ones poorly. However, the good news is that today's school leaders have opportunities to treat the tests as they were designed to be treated, to help teachers make good decisions for all students and to ensure the curriculum and the test do not become synonymous, all within the current accountability model. Accomplishing these feats will be challenging when so many people, many in decision-making positions, believe test scores tell them all they need to know about schools. The author contends that having a basic understanding of what tests were designed to do, how accountability systems work and how the two can be brought together to a positive end is critical.
Descriptors: Standardized Tests, Accountability, Scores, Teacher Effectiveness, Administrators, Self Efficacy, Measurement Techniques, Inferences
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United States