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

By Randy Elliot Bennett; William C. Ward | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 1
ON THE MEANINGS OF CONSTRUCTED RESPONSE

Randy Elliot Bennett Educational Testing Service

Large-scale testing programs are devoting more attention to constructed- response items than at any time in recent memory. Witness the planned introduction of open-ended mathematical items in the revised Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) ( Braswell & Kupin, this volume), the inclusion of the observation of teachers' classroom performances in Praxis: Beginning Assessments for Professional Teachers&, the use of hands-on tasks in state testing programs ( Baron, 1991; DeWitt, 1991), and the President's call to go beyond multiple choice in the proposed American Achievement Tests ( Bush, 1991). Discussion of the motivations, implications, and results of this increased use presupposes an understanding of what constructed response means. This chapter explores the term, with attention to its descriptive, applied, evaluative, and consequential meanings.


CONSTRUCTED RESPONSE AS A SUPERORDINATE CLASSIFICATION

Even a cursory review of the literature makes clear that constructed response implies a broad range of tasks from relatively minor variations of multiple choice to extended projects and complex performances. For example, as a measure of science achievement the term includes such tasks as inserting the missing word in a sentence about the scientific method, writing an essay describing an experiment, or actually conducting an investigation. A general

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