By Daniel Koretz

ISBN-10: 0674028058

ISBN-13: 9780674028050

How do you pass judgement on the standard of a college, a district, a instructor, a scholar? through the try ratings, after all. but for all of the speak, what academic assessments can and can’t inform you, and the way ratings will be misunderstood and misused, is still a secret to such a lot. The complexities of trying out are mostly overlooked, both simply because they're unrecognized, or simply because they could be—well, advanced. encouraged through a well-liked Harvard direction for college kids with out an in depth arithmetic heritage, Measuring Up demystifies academic testing—from MCAS to SAT to WAIS, with all of the alphabet soup in among. Bringing statistical phrases all the way down to earth, Daniel Koretz takes readers in the course of the so much basic matters that come up in academic trying out and indicates how they practice to a couple of the main debatable matters in schooling at the present time, from high-stakes trying out to big schooling. He walks readers via daily examples to teach what assessments do good, what their limits are, how simply checks and ratings may be oversold or misunderstood, and the way they are often used sensibly to aid notice how a lot youngsters have discovered. (20080521)

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One will sometimes hear claims that the use of discriminating items “creates winners and losers” and that designers of certain types of tests have this, rather than accurate measurement, as their goal. However, there is nothing 28 What Is a Test? pernicious about choosing discriminating items. Discriminating items are simply needed if one wants to draw inferences about relative proficiency. This was clear in the vocabulary example: you chose discriminating items in order to be able to gauge the relative vocabularies of applicants.

An even larger issue is deciding where to put the cut score that divides the failures from the “proficient” successes. This is discussed in Chapter 8). Returning to the vocabulary test: what would have happened if you had chosen words differently, while keeping them at the same level of difficulty and discrimination? 1 showed only the first three words in each of three word lists. Those lists, however, could contain hundreds of words of roughly comparable difficulty and frequency of use. You might choose one set of forty from list C, and I might choose another forty from list C.

That this bias can be severe has been well documented for more than half a century. For example, a study published in 1950 documented substantial overreporting of several different types of socially desirable behavior. 2 But when all goes well, the results from a tiny sample provide a reasonable estimate of the findings one would have obtained from the population as a whole. That was true of the Zogby poll. Educational achievement tests are in many ways analogous to this Zogby poll in that they are a proxy for a better and more comprehensive measure that we cannot obtain.

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Measuring up: what educational testing really tells us by Daniel Koretz


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