Good Reasons for Bad Testing
Performance: The Interactional
Substrate of Educational Testing
Douglas W. Maynard Indiana University
Courtney L. Marlaire Marquette University
Children who experience difficulties in school or at home may be referred to a diagnostic clinic and there take a battery of examinations, including some that test their educational level and learning abilities. In analyzing the administration of a variety of test instruments, we argued that the results of these examinations are collaborative productions ( Marlaire & Maynard, 1990).1 This is contrary to the stimulus-response model of the testing relationship, which presumes that examiners are neutral conduits of prespecified items to which examinees respond with correct or incorrect answers reflecting individual levels of ability. Videotapes and transcripts of actual exam episodes show that each part of a "testing sequence" is assembled in the socially organized interaction between examiner and examinee.
Whereas the previous analysis utilized excerpts from a variety of testing instruments,2 in this chapter we concentrate on a single subtest, called blending, of the Woodcock-Johnson Psychoeducational Battery, which is designed to measure both aptitude and ability in a variety of learning-____________________