Jul 30, 2012

ARTICLE: Design Flaw

A Serious Design Flaw Is Suspected in State Tests

"Now, in studies that threaten to shake the foundation of high-stakes test-based accountability, Mr. Stroup and two other researchers said they believe they have found the reason: a glitch embedded in the DNA of the state exams that, as a result of a statistical method used to assemble them, suggests they are virtually useless at measuring the effects of classroom instruction...

"Pearson, which has a five-year, $468 million contract to create the state’s tests through 2015, uses 'item response theory' to devise standardized exams, as other testing companies do. Using I.R.T., developers select questions based on a model that correlates students’ ability with the probability that they will get a question right... 

"This is not first time the use of standardized test scores in Texas has been questioned. In 2009, the state implemented the Texas Projection Measure, a formula that critics said allowed schools to count students as passing who did not. After outcry from lawmakers, the state dropped the measure in 2011."

This is heavy stuff. There's more to the article, so I hope you'll read it.

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