Assessment in Higher Education: Issues of Access, Quality, Student Development, and Public Policy

By Samuel J. Messick | Go to book overview

CONCLUSION

We are at an exciting time in educational measurement. The sketch presented in this chapter holds out the promise of creating a strong theoretical foundation for the next generation of the SATs. This design framework suggests that we need to shift our views of testing and assessment to create large-scale assessments that address the many, and often competing, demands and driving forces in education and society. With this unique opportunity before us, I am reminded of a comment Warren Willingham made in a paper he presented nearly a decade ago when speculating about the prospects of broadening our measures in the admissions process. Willingham wrote in 1986:

To some skeptics, 'additional measures' may sound like trouble--lax practices, vague subjectivity, loss of direction. It is not idle worry. Such dangers will arise if expediency becomes acceptable or if 'flexibility' comes to dominate assessment for entry to coveted jobs and scarce educational resources. The challenge is to maintain an effective balance among measures that offer different strengths and safeguards (p. 127).

As the first century of large-scale ability and aptitude testing draws to a close, we find ourselves challenged to move in the next millennium to a principled design framework that will ensure the development of large-scale tests and assessments that address society's need to develop human capital. We need to keep Willingham's sage advice in mind as we proceed.


REFERENCES

Angoff W. H. ( 1971). The College Board Admissions Testing Program: A technical report on research and development activities relating to the Scholastic Aptitude Test and Achievement Tests. NY: College Entrance Examination Board.

Belan A., & Mislevy R. J. ( 1996). "Probability-based inference in a domain of proportional reasoning tasks". Journal of Educational Measurement, 33( 1), 3-27.

Bennett R. E. ( 1993). "Toward intelligent assessment: An integration of constructed-response testing, artificial intelligence, and model-based measurement". In N. Frederiksen, R. J. Mislevy, & I. Bejar (Eds.), Test theory for a new generation of tests (pp. 99-124). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Bennett R. E. ( 1994, October). The role of technology in creating assessments that increase participation in post-compulsory education. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Association for Educational Assessment, Montreal, Canada.

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