Academic journal article American Annals of the Deaf

Testing.3,2,1

Academic journal article American Annals of the Deaf

Testing.3,2,1

Article excerpt

EDITORIAL

Recently I read some material about the conflicting and confusing results of national and international testing efforts in general education. There seem to be two possible ways of interpreting the data: One, the United States is among world leaders in developing reading, math, and science skills in our school children; or Two, we are doing an abysmal job, and our children lack basic, reading, math, and science skills. Because of this, our children will be doomed to careers of weed pulling, broom pushing, and hamburger flipping, punctuated by unemployment and poverty. There is, of course, a third possibility: Perhaps all countries somehow are producing mindless troglodytes, unlike we highly educated and intelligent adults. I hope the (adult) readers of this editorial will not take the third possibility seriously, but I do want to address the first two issues and then try to relate them to testing of deaf children.

The question of valid and reliable testing is assuming greater importance in the United States. At the time of preparation of this editorial, it appears that congress will mandate annual testing of children from grades three to eight, and possibly more. There will probably be compromises between state control of testing and federal requirements, so that there will continue to be some variation within a general trend toward uniformity in testing. From my limited observations, several states already have developed reliable and valid procedures, and several have not. I would expect this to continue, but with some overall improvement.

At present there are literally thousands of tests being employed. The assumptions behind the tests and the goals vary, with a predictable variation in results. To a great extent, the results reported represent different orientations of norm-referenced and criterion-referenced tests. For example, tests that compare children from different countries, states, cities or schools do not necessarily provide information about content or about excellence. It is within this context that so much confusion exists.

The above-mentioned relatively high reading achievement scores for American children come from the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement. The math and science results come from the Third International Math and Science Study. …

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