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ERIC Number: EJ943414
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 5
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 12
ISSN: ISSN-1056-3997
Politics, Economics, and Testing: Some Reflections
Feuer, Michael J.
Mid-Western Educational Researcher, v24 n1 p25-29 Win 2011
In this keynote address, the author shares his reflections on politics, economics, and testing. He focuses on assessment and accountability and begins with some data from large scale written educational testing, "circa 1840". The author argues that people's penchant for accountability and their appetite for standardized testing are, in the language of statistics and psychometrics, highly collinear. He addresses a specific aspect of the history, as it relates to testing and accountability. Then, he discusses the need to start thinking about the future of testing and accountability through a lens of potential benefits, potential costs (or risks), and perhaps most important, the pursuit of reasonable rather than optimal solutions to the problems of testing and accountability. In closing, the author shares three basic conclusions that are worthy of consideration by education researchers eager to contribute to improved policy making. First, there is a hardy appetite in the policy world for credible and reliable information derived from empirical study, and one should be proud of his/her community for its diligence in the pursuit of answers to complex questions. Second, the most interesting questions are, indeed, too complex to expect definitive or optimal solutions, and one's goal should be to provide reasonable, rather than perfect recommendations, based on appropriate rather than exhaustive deliberation. And finally, there is merit in analyzing reforms from the standpoint of their potential (and measurable) benefits, intended and unintended, along with their actual risks and downside effects. (Contains 4 footnotes.)
Mid-Western Educational Research Association. P.O. Box 34421, Chicago, IL 60634-0421. Tel: 419-372-7401; Fax: 419-372-2828; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: No Child Left Behind Act 2001