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

that the most studied constructed-response tasks (i.e., completion and construction) necessarily measure attributes fundamentally different from multiple choice (although in some contexts, such as AP, construct differences may well exist). Further, there is good evidence that per unit of testing time, essay tasks are less reliable than forced-choice items. Even so, some of the precepts underlying multiple-choice testing conflict with prevailing cognitive and domain conceptions. As to relevance and utility, essay tasks appear to add little predictive value over multiple choice in admissions; the incremental value of essays in placement contexts is more palpable, although the high cost of scoring lowers usefulness. When the context changes to accountability and classroom instruction, the match with domain conceptions becomes key, increasing the relevance and utility of the more complex tasks. Regarding value implications, it is clear that conventional multiple-choice tests and "authentic" assessment represent world views that differ radically in conception, tasks, and scoring and administration. Lastly, the available evidence suggests that conventional tests have had at least some negative social consequences for teaching and learning, and, though the cause is unclear, greater adverse impact for female examinees than essay items have had.

The current rhetoric often depicts constructed response as an alternative to multiple choice (e.g., Wiggins, 1989a, 1989b). The categorical nature of the rhetoric derives in part from extensive reliance on the latter format by conventional testing programs. But just as an exclusive concentration on the products of well-structured, decontextualized tasks is limiting, so too is a focus on the processes involved in solving deeply situated, ill-structured problems. This position argues for a prudent balance of openness versus constraint, process versus product, and contextualization versus abstraction--in other words, for the complementary use of conventional and novel approaches. Balance is also recommended by our knowledge state. We know enough to realize that there are serious limitations to both multiple choice and constructed response (whatever the specific form), and that additional difficulties are sure to arise as our knowledge accrues. In reasoned complementarity there is some protection against methodological idiosyncrasy: Ideally, the irrelevant variance associated with different methods cancels out and the scope of valid measurement extends to represent the intended construct more thoroughly (Messick, this volume). It is in this sense that the ultimate meaning of constructed response may be a broadening and balancing of educational assessment.


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

Appreciation is expressed to Hunter Breland, Brent Bridgeman, Kalle Gerritz, Drew Gitomer, William Ward, and Howard Wainer for their helpful comments on an earlier draft of this chapter.

-24-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Construction Versus Choice in Cognitive Measurement: Issues in Constructed Response, Performance Testing, and Portfolio Assessment
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 342

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.