Jim Angermeyr is the latest to add his voice to the growing number of experts who are troubled by how test scores are being used. He says that policy makes should have a healthy respect for error and use caution when interpreting results
“That caution grows as the groups get smaller, like looking at a classroom instead of a whole school. And that caution grows even more when the stakes increase because increasing the stakes can lead to all kinds of distortions…
Where the distortion comes in is that you can only test a limited amount of the domain. Even if it’s a domain like mathematics, you can’t cover everything. And so you make assumptions about kids’ skills in that broader domain….
Testing professionals know that you’re just sampling the domain and you don’t try to make inferences further than that. But nonprofessionals do that all the time.”
If Angermeyr was running the world he says he would:
- severely reduce the accountability stakes for tests. …
- do away with standards…
- put testing back as a local control issue in school districts.
- take the emphasis off evaluating and [compensating] teachers.
- put the emphasis on good training for principals and curriculum specialists and teachers on how to interpret data and use it for the kind of diagnosis and assessment that it was originally intended for….
It’s politicians and some policymakers who believe tests can do more than they really can. And there’s not enough people stopping and saying wait a minute. When you can summarize a whole bunch of complicated things in a single number, that has a lot of power and it’s hard to ignore, especially when it tells a story that you want to promote. And that’s where it gets really twisted.
He concludes by saying:
“Perhaps if those designing the tests raise their voices alongside those of us who are giving the tests, and the students taking the tests, and their parents as well, we can bring about the change we need.”
Who is Jim Angermeyr? Why does what he say about Value added measures matter?
What do you think Barry McGaw and Tony Mackay? You were not the initiators of the current MySchool reporting regime but you through ACARA are its custodians. Don’t you think you owe it to parents, to children, to teachers and to policy makers to confirm that the arguments put to us by Professor Margaret Wu, by Jim Angermeyr and other psyshometricians have weight and should be heeded.
I respectfully ask that you help us to return assessment to its proper and central place as a classroom diagnostic tool and return testing to its proper place as a population measure of great value for big picture analysis. We need your voice.