Construction Versus Choice in Cognitive Measurement: Issues in Constructed Response, Performance Testing, and Portfolio Assessment

Construction Versus Choice in Cognitive Measurement: Issues in Constructed Response, Performance Testing, and Portfolio Assessment

Construction Versus Choice in Cognitive Measurement: Issues in Constructed Response, Performance Testing, and Portfolio Assessment

Construction Versus Choice in Cognitive Measurement: Issues in Constructed Response, Performance Testing, and Portfolio Assessment

Synopsis

This book brings together psychometric, cognitive science, policy, and content domain perspectives on new approaches to educational assessment -- in particular, constructed response, performance testing, and portfolio assessment. These new assessment approaches -- a full range of alternatives to traditional multiple-choice tests -- are useful in all types of large-scale testing programs, including educational admissions, school accountability, and placement. This book's multi-disciplinary perspective identifies the potential advantages and pitfalls of these new assessment forms, as well as the critical research questions that must be addressed if these assessment methods are to benefit education.

Excerpt

The multiple-choice question is the mainstay of standardized testing programs in the United States. The format has achieved this position because it permits inexpensive and apparently objective scoring; because such questions can be answered quickly, allowing broad content coverage within a testing session; and because a sophisticated statistical technology has evolved to support the analysis and interpretation of test results.

The reliance on multiple-choice questions, however, is increasingly criticized. Many have argued that tests and, in particular, test formats significantly influence education. Multiple-choice assessments are said to encourage the teaching and learning of isolated facts and rote procedures at the expense of conceptual understanding and the development of problem-solving skills. It is believed that, for education reform to occur, the methods used to measure attainment must themselves be transformed.

To address the limitations of the multiple-choice format, many educators and psychologists have advocated increased use of constructed-response tasks. These tasks may be as simple as producing a numerical answer to an arithmetic question or as extensive as producing the numerous drafts that culminate in a finely honed essay or planning and conducting a series of scientific experiments. Proponents argue that constructed-response assessments, especially those that require extended problem solving and yield complex productions, measure different skills and promote deeper learning than do multiple-choice measures.

The use of such tasks, however, raises several critical concerns. If the an-

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