Monitoring School Performance: A Guide for Educators

By J. Douglas Willms | Go to book overview

Chapter 7

Schooling Outcomes

Most monitoring systems include only a small range of outcome measures, usually emphasizing academic achievement. In many instances, the outcomes are limited to achievement tests of basic skills in reading and arithmetic. These typically comprise a small number of multiple-choice items aimed at covering the skills taught in the majority of public schools. Many teachers and educational researchers are critical of the testing technology and have called for alternative forms of assessment (Wolf, Bixby, Glenn, and Gardner, 1991). This chapter discusses some of the issues relevant to identifying the goals of schooling and selecting tests to measure them. The first section argues for monitoring that encompasses a wider range of goals, and the second section calls for monitoring that stresses equity as well as excellence in goal attainment. The next three sections discuss the validity and reliability of outcome measures, and considerations relevant to selecting tests. These sections are followed with a section describing the new forms of 'authentic assessment' that have been proposed as an alternative to norm-referenced, multiplechoice tests. The chapter concludes with a list of guidelines for developing a monitoring system.


Identifying Goals

Monitoring systems are often limited to the measurement of academic achievement because it is easier to measure than personal, social, and vocational development. Considerable effort has been devoted to developing reliable, standardized tests of academic achievement. Tests measuring con-structs such as self-concept, efficacy, or effective communication, however, are less well developed and tend to be unreliable. Also, some evaluators believe that success in academic achievement is one of the few goals that is common across schools. Although schools vary in their stated purposes, and in the emphasis of their curriculum and instruction, nearly all schools view the development of basic skills in literacy and numeracy as one of their main goals. Another reason is that some of the impetus for national testing and monitoring systems has stemmed from a belief that standards of achievement have fallen, and that parents want schools to place greater emphasis on basic academic skills.

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Monitoring School Performance: A Guide for Educators
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • List of Tables and Figures viii
  • Preface x
  • Chapter 1 - Introduction 1
  • Chapter 2 - The Social and Political Context of Monitoring Systems 12
  • Chapter 3 - Monitoring Systems and the Input-Output Model 28
  • Chapter 4 - The Estimation of School Effects 38
  • Chapter 5 - Measuring Pupil Inputs 50
  • Chapter 6 - Schooling Processes 64
  • Chapter 7 - Schooling Outcomes 82
  • Chapter 8 - Design of a Monitoring System 91
  • Chapter 9 - Analyses for an Annual Report 103
  • Chapter 10 - A Research Program 120
  • Chapter 11 - Conclusions 143
  • Technical Appendix 157
  • References 163
  • Index 175
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