Academic journal article Education

Measurement/evaluation Courses in Teacher Education

Academic journal article Education

Measurement/evaluation Courses in Teacher Education

Article excerpt

Change is a fact of life. Changes certainly are being made and are left to make in teacher education course work. One area of undergraduate teacher education courses that need to implement change are those pertaining to measurement and evaluation. Educators and people in society want to know how well students are doing in school. To determine this, evaluation needs to be forthcoming. Through evaluation, one attempts to find out how well students are achieving.

Sometimes, one has the position taken by Gorgias In ancient Athens who as a skeptic believed:

1. Nothing exists

2. If anything did exist, we could never know it.

3. if by chance we could come to know it, it would remain a secret because we could not communicate it to others (Sahaklan, 1968).

The state of measurement and evaluation of student achievement Is almost In this condition. There is considerable disagreement as to how well students are doing in the public schools. At one en of the continuum, students are said to be doing well in school (See Bracey, 1999). Toward the other end of the continuum, students are reported as not doing well at all.

There certainly are disagreements as to how student achievement is to be determined. Thus, a disagreement exists pertaining to quantitative (test scores) versus qualitative data (portfolios) on student achievement in the public school.

Professors in higher education teaching courses on measurement and evaluation have different philosophies on how to ascertain student progress. Each philosophy must be discussed with students and indicate reasons for holding selected beliefs. No single philosophy should be taught as an absolute. Students have come out of measurement and evaluation classes as if there are certain dogma to be followed in developing and implementing specific tests. An open mind is necessary to measure and evaluate student achievement in the school setting.

Coursework in Undergraduate Testing and Measurement

What should be selected underlying principles taught In undergraduate professional education courses? Philosophy of testing and measuring need to become an inherent part of any course.

When giving standardized tests, a single numeral is an end result in telling parents what their offspring has achieved. Generally a percentile is given. Thus, for example, a student may have scored on the sixtieth percentile. Out of every one hundred students having taken the test, forty were above and sixty below the sixtieth percentile. University undergraduates need to attach meaning then to percentiles.

When the latter becoming classroom teachers, they need to be able to clearly state to parents what any percentile means. If in standardized testing, a standard deviation is given for a learner, clarification of this statistic must be in the offing. Thus, if the learner was one standard deviation above the mean, this involves 34.13 per cent of the Involved testees' results who were on this level. The median is the fiftieth percentile. Adding the one standard deviation to the median (50+34.13) indicates the learner to be on the 84th plus percentile. Percentiles are based on rank order with learners having taken the test to be ranked from high to low (Ediger, 1999, 85-91).

A university student then needs to understand the following:

1. when percentiles are given from learner test results in the public schools, the percentiles may be packed very close together. For example, learners A, B, and C might be just a raw score apart respectively from having taken the test, and yet one learner is in first, one In second, and the third In third place.

2. each test has a standard error of measurement. The statistical technique used to determine a standard error of measurement of the involved test means that there is inherent error. Thus, the test does not measure with perfect consistency. Since the results would differ for the same learner when the test is taken again, there is a lack of perfect reliability here. …

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